Pregnancy leaves a woman susceptible to many kinds of infections including yeast infection. In fact more than 70% of pregnant women suffer from yeast infection at one point or another in their pregnancy. Some even have recurrent yeast infection while pregnant. Yeast infection commonly occurs during the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
Yeast infection does not cause harm to the baby but it is important to be treated before the pregnancy terminates in labor and the baby comes out. Many babies born naturally to mothers suffering from yeast infection develop thrush inside their mouths as a result of the infection.
What are the Causes of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?
An infection can occur in the vagina when the natural –ph balance of the vagina is disturbed. The acidic level in the vagina increases and the alkaline level (needed to neutralize the acids) sharply drops. This results in the multiplication of infection causing yeast. When a woman is pregnant her body undergoes plenty of changes both outside and within the body.
Yeast infection in a pregnant woman is the result of hormonal changes taking place inside the body. This hormonal fluctuation leads to the increase of acidic level inside the vagina. As a result, the yeast that causes the infection begins to reproduce at a fast rate leading to infection.
Some pregnant women also develop gestational diabetes which increases the amount of sugar in the blood. This can also result in yeast infection. The yeasts have a ball feeding on the sugar-laced vaginal secretions. This helps them grow. Hence, it is important to get tested for diabetes during pregnancy. Penetrative sexual intercourse during pregnancy can cause yeast infection as well.
What are the Symptoms of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?
It is important to know and recognize the symptoms of yeast infection during pregnancy in order to get treated for the same. You will notice a change in the vaginal discharge. The normally white discharge will become thick and slightly yellow in color. The discharge will resemble cottage cheese.
The color of the discharge may also be green depending on the severity of the infection. The smell of the discharge will remind you of spoiled bread. The discharge will be in large quantities leaving you with a continuous wet feeling. You will also experience severe itching in the vagina as a result of the presence of fungi. The vaginal lips will turn red due to the itching and inflammation.
How to Treat Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?
Normally, yeast infection is treated using vaginal creams and antibiotics. However, during pregnancy antibiotics are not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Diflucan is another drug that is given in single dosage to treat yeast infection. But the safety of this drug has not been proven for pregnancy. So, do not take this drug as it is available over-the counter.
There are other methods to treat yeast infection during pregnancy. These are natural remedies and are absolutely safe for pregnant women. Yogurt is a natural home remedy for treating yeast infection. Insert a tablespoon of yogurt using a clean finger. Do not use tampons or any other such object for injecting yogurt in the vagina as you may increase the risk of spreading the infection further. Use only plain yogurt and not sweetened or flavored yogurt.
Spread some yogurt on the lips of the vagina as well to reduce the need to itch severely. You can apply a thin layer of the yogurt on an unused Whisper pad and wear it to prevent itching. Some people highly recommend the use of Greek yogurt for treating yeast infection at home.
The yogurt you use must contain live cultures of acidophilus and should be used cold for best results. Do this treatment 3-4 times during the day. Wash and dry yourself well before re-applying the yogurt to the vagina. Eating plain yogurt will also help treat the yeast infection. Eat a bowl of yogurt every three hours to fasten the treatment.
Garlic too helps treat yeast infection effectively and completely. Prepare garlic suppository by peeling two pods of garlic and wrapping them tightly in medicated gauze. Insert the gauze into the vagina and leave one end of the gauze hanging outside the vagina. It is important to push the garlic deep inside the vagina for treating the infection. Leave the garlic overnight and remove the gauze first thing in the morning.
Garlic will not only kill the infection causing yeast but also reduce the itching and inflammation associated with the infection. You can even use the garlic suppository during the day. However, during the day increase the number of garlic pods in the gauze and wear the suppository for not more than three hours. You could also crush the garlic cloves a little. This will help release the juices of garlic inside the vagina.
Home remedies for yeast infection will take 10-12 days to treat the infection completely during pregnancy. Hence, it is important that the treatment be done regularly to get rid of the infection entirely. If the infection still persists then show yourself immediately to a doctor.
How to Prevent Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?
Yeast infection can be avoided completely during pregnancy if a few things are taken care of. Do not wear tight underclothes. Wear only loose undergarments made from cotton. Cotton clothes allow the skin to breathe properly and also absorb sweat keeping the area clean and dry.
Do not eat too much of sugary foods and don’t drink sugar laced drinks. Increase in sugar in the body increases the risk of yeast infection during pregnancy. Do not use scented soaps for washing yourself. Also avoid use of scented sprays and perfumes to smell clean. The chemicals present in the scents disturb the natural ph balance of the vagina leading to infection.
Eat lots of plain curd or yogurt to maintain a normal environment in the vagina. Any disturbance in the vaginal flora will lead to infection. Avoid penetrative sex with new partners during pregnancy. Also avoid inserting objects inside the vagina as these can be dirty leading to infection.