Even if you’ve never had a problem with your vaginal pH before, pregnancy can make yeast infections a concern. In fact, yeast infections during pregnancy can hit women harder than at any other point in their lives, since hormonal changes during pregnancy can make women particularly susceptible.
Signs of a yeast infection
The vaginal discharge that is one of the main signs of a yeast infection can be slightly harder to identify during pregnancy, since a certain amount of discharge is also a normal side effect of pregnancy. The difference is in the color and texture of that discharge – thin, clear or white discharge is probably healthy and normal, but if it’s thicker (closer in consistency to cottage cheese), and white or greenish or yellowish, sometimes with a yeasty or bread-like smell, it’s more likely to be a symptom of an infection. Other symptoms include pain or itching around the lips of the vagina, and burning or pain when urinating or when having sex.
Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to prevent a yeast infection during pregnancy. There are ways to make one a lot less likely, though, including wearing loose, breathable clothing and cotton underwear, not wearing a wet swimsuit for long after getting out of the water, and always wiping from front to back in the restroom. It can also help to eat some yogurt, and limit your sugar intake, to try to keep your internal ecosystem balanced.
During pregnancy, women with yeast infections are mostly advised to treat themselves with over-the-counter, topical yeast infection medication, rather than any kind of prescription or pill, but it’s still a good idea to get your healthcare provider to take a look before starting treatment. This is because yeast infection symptoms can look similar to symptoms of other infections, including STDs, and because even if you’re sure your symptoms are caused by a yeast infection, it’s possible for there to be multiple causes at once, and a self-misdiagnosis can delay you in getting the help you need. It’s also true that different over-the-counter medications have different levels of effectiveness. Your healthcare provider will be able to point you in the direction of an effective medication that’s safe during pregnancy.
- Tobah, Yvonne. “What’s the best way to treat a yeast infection during pregnancy?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. October 29, 2015. Web.