Yeast is a fungus which normally lives in the vagina in small numbers.A yeast infection means that too many yeast cells are growing in the vagina , because the normal levels of acid and yeast in the vagina are out of balance and this allows the yeast to overgrow.This is a common occurrence among pregnant women with many of the women developing these infections towards the end of their second or during their third trimester, however this yeast infection while pregnant does not cause any harm to the pregnancy although they are difficult to control and symptoms may be difficult to deal with, causing a lot discomfort.
The infections are as a result of:
- The increase of estrogen or change in hormones due to pregnancy
- Having high blood sugar for example in diabetes
- Steriods or antibiotics that are taken
- Douching and use of scented soaps and cleansers or feminine hygiene sprays
- Immune system problems whereby there is suppression of the immune system and especially during pregnancy
- Moist and dark environments due to not drying yourself completely because yeast flourishes in moist environments
- There is also an increase in sugar in the vaginal secretions through which the yeast feeds
- Taking birth control pills
Symptoms of the yeast infection while pregnant are:
- There is a burning sensation when passing urine or having sexual intercourse
- Itching which can at times be severe
- The lips of the vagina become red and irritated
Passage of large amounts of thick discharge which may be white,green,yellow or gray in colour,the normal discharge during pregnancy is thin and mild smelling
The discharge passed may appear like cottage cheese,it may also smell like yeast
To diagnose the doctor will have to take a sample of your vaginal discharge using a simple painless swab which is examined through a microscope so as to confirm which type of yeast infection is present and how severe it is.
The treatment includes a vaginal antifungal cream and suppositories,avoid use of antifungal medicine pills.It may take up to fourteen days for there to be a relief or for the infection to completely clear up.To avoid re-infection ,it is important to avoid sexual contact with your partner until the infection is cleared, your partner will also need medication.If the yeast infection is not treated,it can result in the transfer of the infection to the baby’s mouth during delivery.
This yeast infection while pregnant can be prevented by:
- Use of fragrance free soap when washing the vaginal area
- Wearing cotton panties which allow your vaginal area to breathe
- Wiping from front to back after bowl movements
- Keeping genitals area dry and clean
- Limiting your sugar intake as sugar promotes the growth of yeast
- Avoid clothing that is tight fitting, instead wear loose clothing
- A diet with yogurt and other fermented dairy products which contain live cultures can help prevent the overgrowth of unhealthy yeast,you can also ask your medical practitioner the type of supplements that can keep good bacteria and limit fungus
- Getting plenty of rest and sleep so that the body can be able to fight off infections
- After swimming, shower immediately and avoid staying wet for long
- Take showers as much as possible instead of baths
A yeast infection while pregnant is known to have similar symptoms to other infections for example Sexually Transmitted Diseases like gonorrhea or chlamydia, and a vaginal infection by the name of bacterial vaginosis therefore proper diagnosis is important so as to get effective and immediate treatment as your health should be your number one priority during this time of pregnancy.