Mama-mia! Yeast infections…NEED I SAY MORE? I think we can add this to the list of things no one tells you when you get pregnant (and let me tell you, it’s an ever-growing list). Pregnancy comes with all kinds of surprises. Some are very welcome and bring so much joy and excitement. While others, well…. Not so much.
Did you know you are more likely to get a yeast infection during pregnancy than any other time in your life? All that extra estrogen it takes to grow that sweet bundle of joy makes for the perfect little set up for those yeasty beasties to thrive. As if you didn't have anything else better to worry about. RIght? While this can be very annoying, inconvenient, and uncomfortable, no worries, it will not harm your baby or the pregnancy. With that said, you should always let your primary care physician know of any sudden changes or discomfort (especially in the nether regions).
What is a Yeast Infection?
Yeast also is known as Candida Albicans is a normal fungus found in the vagina. When the PH balance and bacteria in the vagina are altered (which naturally occur during pregnancy), an overgrowth can occur. Some women are more prone to this than others.
You may be asking yourself ‘What can I do to decrease the chances of getting a yeast infection?’ And although you can’t change your pregnancy hormones, you can control a lot of
- Wear loose fitting clothing
- Wear 100% cotton panites (they are more breathable and hold less moisture). Better yet, sleep without any on if you can tolerate it. Or wear breezy cotton shorts to bed.
- No douching allowed, folks. EVER. It disrupts the normal flora and ph in the vagina.
- And those scented femenine products…get rid of them. They can cause extra irritation.
- No bubble baths.
- Avoid hot and moist things: ie hot tubs, saunas, sweaty gym clothes.
- Make sure to dry off completely after showering, bathing, or swimming.
- Do not sit around in a wet bathing suit.
- If you wear a panty liner, change it frequently.
- Decrease sugar intake– yeast love love love sweets.
- If you are prone to yeast infections and are taking antibiotics, let your doctor know ahead of time. Sometimes, antibiotics will further disrupt your normal flora and ph.
- Exacerbating or causing that overgrowth of yeast. If you still find yourself struggling with an overgrowth of those yeasty beasties despite preventative measures, not to worry, call your primary care provider. Likely, she/he will give you the go ahead on an over the counter antifungal medication. But first might want to rule out other infections such as bacterial vaginosis or stds.
Some symptoms to be on the lookout for may include:
- A change in vaginal discharge. Often times it will appear white, lumpy, and odorless. Sorry for this, but think cottage cheese.
- Itching and irritation around and in the vagina.
- Burning sensation when you use the bathroom.
- Labia may appear red and swollen.
- Sometimes irritation will be noticed in the groin area or other skin folds as well.
- Painful intercourse
Keep in mind treatment will take a few days to kick in. Until then, try and keep your hands away from the area (easier said than done when it itches). Continue to keep moisture and warmth at a minimum. And here is a nice little tip for you– apply the cream or vaginal suppository at night before bed. Less mess. Gravity is not your friend when applying these medications. Hang in there, Mama. You got this!! If you need help, we are here for you!