Women's Healthcare Topics

Vaginal Yeast Infections During Pregnancy

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Symptoms of a Vaginal Yeast Infection

Women are generally more prone to all manner of side effects during pregnancy, none the least of which is an increased risk for yeast infections during pregnancy. While pregnant you are more likely to develop yeast infections than when not pregnant. This may result from increased levels of estrogen circulating in your body. This produces an environment much more suitable to yeast growth in the reproductive tract.

Signs and Symptoms of Yeast Infections During Pregnancy
There are many signs and symptoms of yeast infections during pregnancy. While some may go undetected for a brief period of time, most women will notice the following common symptoms:

  • Itchiness or burning in the vulva or labia.

  • Odorless vaginal discharge that is white, creamy or resembles cottage cheese.

  • Pain on intercourse or lower abdominal pain that comes and goes.

  • Burning or irritation on urinating.

Treating Yeast Infections During Pregnancy

It is important your vaginal yeast infection is diagnosed correctly before you treat it during pregnancy. Some yeast infections resemble other common infections during pregnancy. A bacterial infection for example can produce abundant discharge much like a yeast infection, but the cure for the two are not the same.

If you do have a yeast infection your health care provider will likely recommend an over the counter anti-fungal cream. Typically these are beneficial for alleviating all but the worst vaginal yeast infections and work in as little as a few days to a week. You may find you need a longer course regimen than what you are used to while pregnant.

If your yeast infection is particularly insidious your doctor may prescribe a prescription strength product to help knock out the infection more effectively. In most cases yeast infections are relatively harmless and will not impact your developing baby. There is however a small possibility that you could pass a yeast infection onto your baby during delivery if you have an infection during labor.

Learn about Vaginal Yeast Infections During Pregnancy.

Thrush and Newborns

Yeast infections in newborns are quite common and are typically called thrush. Many newborns develop a yeast infection in the first few weeks of life. Thrush is typically characterized by white patches in your newborn's mouth or on your baby's tongue that don't scrape away easily. While not serious, thrush in a newborn can easily spread to your nipples causing pain and irritation. Thus, if you or your baby has a yeast infection after delivery it is important you get treated to help promote a satisfying and painless breastfeeding relationship.

Yeast Infection Prevention

There are some steps you can take to help prevent recurring yeast infections. These include:

  • Avoiding skin tight clothing.

  • Wearing breathable fabrics including cotton underwear.

  • Airing out your genitals by going 'bare' in the evenings or at night.

  • Avoiding wearing wet swimsuits for extended periods of time.

  • Avoiding harsh or perfumed vaginal or soap products which can contribute to irritation.

  • Regularly consuming foods high in acidophilus like yogurt, which can help restore the natural flora of the vagina and help treat and prevent yeast infections.

If you regularly take acidophilus while breastfeeding, chances are your baby will reap some of the benefits as well and the two of you may avoid thrush or a yeast infection all together. Remember that while a common occurrence, a yeast infection is preventable and definitely treatable during and after pregnancy!


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