Yeast infections are more common during pregnancy than any other time in a woman's life,
especially during the second trimester of pregnancy. You may be noticing an increase in the amount of thin, white,
odd smelling discharge. This is common and a normal symptom in the second trimester. If you think you may be
experiencing a yeast infection, the following information will prepare you to discuss the possibility with your
doctor. Though yeast infections have no major negative effect on pregnancy, they are often more difficult to
control during pregnancy causing significant discomfort for you. Don't waste time in seeking treatment.
What is a yeast infection?
Yeast infection occurs when the normal levels of acid and yeast in the vagina are out of
balance, which allows yeast to overgrow causing an uncomfortable, but not serious, condition called yeast
If you have never been diagnosed or treated by a physician for a yeast infection and have some
of the symptoms, you should see your physician first for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
What causes a yeast infection?
A yeast infection can be caused by one or more of the following:
Hormonal changes that come with pregnancy or before your period
Taking hormones or birth control pills
Taking antibiotics, or steroids
High blood sugar, as in diabetes
Blood or semen
Why are yeast infections more common during
Your body is going through so many changes right now, and it is difficult for your body to keep
up with the chemical changes in the vaginal environment. There is more sugar in the vaginal secretions on which the
yeast can feed, causing an imbalance, which results in too much fungus.
What are the symptoms of yeast infections?
The symptoms of a yeast infection may include one or more of the following:
Discharge that is usually white, similar to cottage cheese and may smell like yeast/bread
Other discharge may be greenish or yellowish, also similar to cottage cheese and may smell like
Copious amounts of discharge
Redness, itching, or irritation of the lips of the vagina
Burning during urination or intercourse
What else could I be experiencing?
If you are experiencing symptoms similar to a yeast infection, but a physician has ruled this
diagnosis out, you may have one of the following:
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, & Trichomoniasis
A vaginal infection called Bacterial Vaginosis
How do I know for sure if I have a yeast infection?
At your doctor's office or medical clinic, a clinician will use a simple, painless swab to
remove discharge or vaginal secretions and examine it through a microscope. Usually, upon a simple examination of
the vagina, a physician can diagnose a yeast infection. In rare cases the culture may be sent to a lab.
How are yeast infections treated during pregnancy?
During pregnancy physicians recommend vaginal creams and suppositories only. The oral
medication, Diflucan (a single-dose medication), has not been proven safe during pregnancy and lactation. If left
untreated, yeast infections can pass to your baby's mouth during delivery. This is called "thrush" and is
effectively treated with Nystatin.
It may take 10-14 days to find relief or completely clear up the infection while you are
pregnant. After the infection has cleared up and any sores have healed, it may be helpful to use a starch-free
drying powder, or Nystatin powder to prevent a recurring infection.
How can I prevent a yeast infection or recurring yeast
Most yeast infections can usually be avoided by doing the following:
Wear loose, cotton, breathable clothing, and cotton underwear.
After regular, thorough washing, use your blow dryer on a low, cool setting to help dry your genital
Always wipe from front to back after using the restroom.
Shower immediately after you swim. Change out of swimsuit, workout clothes or other damp clothes as
soon as possible.
Don't douche; and don't use feminine hygiene sprays, sanitary pads, and tampons that contain deodorant,
bubble bath, colored or perfumed toilet paper
Include yogurt with "lactobacillus acidophilus" in your diet
Limit sugar intake, as sugar promotes the growth of yeast
Get plenty of rest to make it easier for your body to fight infections
When should I contact my doctor?
If you are experiencing the symptoms described in this article, call your doctor now. Yeast
infections have similar symptoms of other infections, and among them STD's. Proper diagnosis every time you
experience these symptoms is vital for the most effective, immediate treatment, or your condition may worsen.
If you see no improvement within three days or if symptoms worsen or come back after treatment,
you should contact your health provider again.