Yeast Infections and Pregnancy


Treatment Considerations for Pregnant Women

Pregnancy comes with many challenges, including the increased risk of developing a yeast infection. These are more common in the second trimester of pregnancy and are most likely caused by changing hormones and imbalances in vaginal secretions. Antibiotic use, vaginal sex or douching can increase the risk of yeast infection. A pregnant woman with a yeast infection may worry that any medication she needs may harm her unborn baby, but there are solutions which will keep the baby safe.

Yeast infections are caused by the fungus Candida albicans. This can thrive in certain environments. When there is an imbalance in the beneficial bacteria in the vagina or an abnormal pH, yeast can take hold. Also, vaginal secretions during pregnancy tend to have more sugar in them. Sugar helps feed the yeast, which causes it to grow faster. Though yeast infections are more common during the second trimester, they can happen earlier in pregnancy, too. Be sure to tell your doctor if you suspect a pregnancy when you seek treatment for a yeast infection. That way he or she can prescribe a pregnancy-safe treatment.

The Importance of Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment

Before treating a yeast infection, you should confirm the diagnosis. Other infections can cause problems with a pregnancy, and a doctor should rule those out first. The symptoms of a yeast infection are itching, irritation and a burning feeling in the vulva or vagina. There will also probably be a white or yellow vaginal discharge which has the texture of cottage cheese and may smell like yeast or bread. Pain during sex or urination is another symptom.

With yeast infections during pregnancy, your healthcare practitioner may avoid administering oral yeast infection medications. Oral medications could affect the baby. The most popular oral medication for yeast infections, fluconazole, has not been proven safe during pregnancy. However, suppositories and creams are safe for pregnant women to use to treat this infection. It’s best to talk to your healthcare provider before self-treating just to be sure you are using the correct treatment during pregnancy. With treatment, yeast infections take about 10 to 14 days to clear up.

Caring for Yourself and Your Baby

If you have these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about diagnosis and treatment. You may be able to use an over-the-counter remedy, but you should first get your healthcare practitioner’s permission to be on the safe side. The baby will not be affected by the yeast infection, but if it continues, there may be a risk of the infection passing to the baby during birth. This could result in the development of thrush in the baby’s mouth. Caring for your condition now, will avert passing the discomfort on to your baby later.