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Yeast Infections in Pregnancy

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Yeast infections are not any fun. They occur in women more frequent when they are pregnant. However, non-pregnant women also have yeast infections.

A yeast infection is not similar to other types of infections for which you need to take medications like antibiotics. Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of a normal fungus. Many women, about one-third, normally carry this fungus in their vaginas. Men and women carry it in their digestive tract. However, during pregnancy women become more susceptible to yeast problems. This is at least partially due to the increased estrogen circulating in a pregnant woman’s body. Some women know that they are more susceptible to yeast infections.

Yeast infections are not harmful to you. They are simply annoying and painful. They also will not harm your baby. Though some babies will get yeast infections, no matter how or when they are born.

Signs of a Yeast Infection

In moms:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Painful Intercourse
  • Discharge that is white or creamy, including a curd like appearance. (Not luekorrhea, normal discharge.)

In babies (Called Thrush):

  • White patches in their mouth that do not wipe off.
  • Bright red diaper rash that doesn't go away.

The key to being comfortable is to prevent the yeast infection in the first place. Some common tips to prevent them include:

  • Wear cotton underwear, avoiding synthetic fabrics.
  • Sleep without underwear to allow your genitals to air dry.
  • Avoid sitting around wet, like a wet bathing suit or staying in a tub of water.
  • Avoid tight fitting clothing, particularly those made of synthetic fibers, like Lycra.
  • Do not use perfumed soaps or laundry detergent.

If you have never had a yeast infection before you should have your doctor or midwife look at a sample of your vaginal secretions or discharge under a microscope to diagnose your yeast infection. Do not assume it is a yeast infection. And do not attempt to treat it without the approval of your practitioner.

If you have had yeast infections before, you may still need to contact your practitioner. If you already have medications at home, do not use them. Call your doctor or midwife first as some medications are not recommended for pregnancy. Your practitioner should be able to tell you which medications to use during pregnancy. One important note is that the shorter courses of treatment do not seem to be as effective in pregnancy. Therefore you will most likely be prescribed or have recommended a seven-day treatment. Be sure to use the entire dose, as not following these instructions may cause a reoccurrence of the yeast.

The cream is inserted into the vagina every night before bed. This allows you to be able to lie down as long as possible to get the most out of the medication. Sometimes a panty liner is useful to help with the discharge or leakage of medication.

Symptoms can be treated with ice packs to the perineum. You can also soak in a cool tub for relief. There are some topical creams available, talk to your practitioner before using them in pregnancy.

There are also natural remedies to preventing and dealing with yeast. Eating yogurt with live active cultures can help your body fight off the yeast infection. Some practitioners even encourage you to put plain yogurt (with the cultures) into the vagina. They say that it provides relief as well as healing. You should also cut back on the sugars in your diet, this is what yeast lives on. You can combine these measures with medication therapies as well. Talk to your practitioner for more information.

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