Do you know that three in four women will have a yeast infection at least once in their lives? In fact, susceptibility to this infection increases during pregnancy.
For most expectant mums, this period is marked by gladness and preparation. However, the increased risk and susceptibility to certain infections can make this wait quite delicate.
How will you know if you have a yeast infection?
In this article, you’d find the symptoms of yeast infections during pregnancy, possible causes and how to prevent it.
First, What Is A Yeast Infection?
Yeast is a type of fungus. Yeast infections are also known as candidiasis. Vulvovaginal candidiasis, (or moniliasis), is a yeast infection that affects the vagina and vulva.
These infections are caused by a kind of yeast known as Candida albicans. However, other types of yeast, including Candida glabrata and Candida tropicalis, can also cause yeast infections.
Yeast infections are common in pregnant women due to increased estrogen levels. This increase causes an imbalance between the yeast and bacteria population in the vagina.
Most times, this imbalance results in an overgrowth of yeast. Although they are usually unpleasant, yeast infections don’t harm your baby.
What Causes a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?
Yeast infection during pregnancy results from a number of factors. Some of them include:
- Vaginal pH Variations: During pregnancy, the hormone levels change the pH (acidity/alkalinity) balance in the vagina. As a result of this, the vagina environment becomes more favourable for yeast growth.
- Underlying health problems which aren’t properly managed e.g. diabetes, HIV.
- Medications such as antibiotics may upset the yeast composition of the vagina, leading to a yeast infection.
- Yeast infection can also be transferred to you from your sexual partner during sexual intercourse.
Symptoms of a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
When you have a yeast infection during pregnancy, you may notice any of these:
- Itchy Vagina: When you have to scratch your vagina consistently, watch it, it may be a yeast infection.
- Pain or soreness in the vagina or vulva.
- Burning Sensation: A burning sensation in your genital (especially when you urinate), may be because of a yeast infection.
- Vaginal Discharge. The presence of a yeast infection may cause you to have a thick, white, odorless vaginal discharge.
- Rash on the vagina and the skin around it. This rash may extend to the thigh sometimes.
- Swelling or redness in the area outside your vagina.
How to Prevent A Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
- Keep your vaginal area dry by wearing a cotton underwear and a pantyhose with a cotton crotch.
- Avoid tight pants and underwear.
- Always clean your vagina after each visit to the toilet. Remember to wipe from front to back to prevent passage of infection into the vagina.
- Don’t wear a wet swimsuit for long. This helps to keep the genital area dry.
- Avoid scented sanitary pads, tissue paper, bubble bath, and feminine hygiene sprays.
- Avoid douching. Douching can upset your vagina and even cause your water to break in late pregnancy.
- If you have diabetes, watch your sugar level and keep it under control.
Yeast infections can make pregnancy really stressful. Nevertheless, you don’t need to worry, because it doesn’t harm you or your baby. Although, it can be transferred to your baby at birth.
Avoid self-medication during pregnancy. See your doctor and use only prescribed drugs.
- Derrick Soong and Adrienne Einarson (2009). “Vaginal yeast infections during pregnancy.” Canadian Family Physician. Accessed from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654841/ on 10th October, 2020.
- Obiageli Roseline Ezeigbo, Anolue F., and Nnadozie Raymond Ikechukwu (2015). “Vaginal Candidiasis Infection among Pregnant Women in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria.” British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research. Accessed from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281225677_Vaginal_Candidiasis_Infection_among_Pregnant_Women_in_Aba_Abia_State_Nigeria on 18th October, 2020.
- Nahed Ghaddar, Elie Anastasiadis, Rawad Halimeh, Ali Ghaddar, Rita Dhar, Wadha AlFouzan, Hoda Yusef and Mira El Chaar (2020). “Prevalence and antifungal susceptibility of Candida albicans causing vaginal discharge among pregnant women in Lebanon.” BMC Infectious Disease. Accessed from https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-019-4736-2 on 18th October, 2020.
- Amir Barzin, and Anne Mounsey (2016). “PURLs: Yeast infection in pregnancy? Think twice about fluconazole.” The Journal of Family Practice. Accessed from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5116200/#__ffn_sectitle on 18th October, 2020.