The vaginal area naturally produces yeast. The optimal conditions for yeast to thrive is in a moist and warm environment. Pregnancy can result in an increase in vaginal secretions which often contain sugar, and yeast feeds off sugar. This makes it the perfect environment for yeast to grow and flourish, and for yeast infections to develop. It may be more difficult to realize you have a yeast infection during pregnancy because the symptoms are similar to normal vaginal changes during pregnancy.
The common signs of a yeast infection are itchiness, burning sensation, and pain in the vaginal area. These symptoms may spread to the labia and other parts of the vagina. Outer and inner parts of the vagina may look red in appearance due to the itchiness. You can purchase creams to help deal with the irritation, but it is a good idea to first speak to your doctor before applying any creams. Yeast infections are very common in pregnant women.
It is normal to have an increase in vaginal secretions, particularly towards the end of your pregnancy. However, a yeast infection will cause these secretions to become white and thick, almost looking like cottage cheese. The color could also be yellow or green and may have a strong odor. Another type of secretion that a woman may experience towards the end of her pregnancy is the loss of the mucus plug. A mucus plug is just like a plug made up of mucus. It grows in the cervix area to help close the cervical canal, to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus. During the last stages of pregnancy, the cervix widens to prepare for birth and this plug falls out. The secretions of this plug are not as same as a yeast infection discharge. This secretion will be a mix of blood and mucus and may look red or brown in appearance.
During a yeast infection, a pregnant woman may feel irritation or burning when urinating. This is because the urine will burn the irritated skin. Having sexual intercourse may also be painful. To avoid spreading the yeast infection, a woman’s partner should be made aware of the yeast infection.
It is highly recommended to not have intercourse during a yeast infection as it can also cause an imbalance to the vaginal bacteria.
If you are suffering from what you think is a yeast infection, it is important to discuss it with your doctor. Treatment is important because if you have a yeast infection at the time of delivery, it is possible to pass it on to your baby in the form of thrush. Thrush can then also pass back to you if you are breastfeeding.