Pregnancy is a time of great change for a woman's body, and as any expecting mom can attest, it can also be a time of intense discomfort and unexpected symptoms. One of the more unpleasant side effects of pregnancy can be yeast infections, which can be a surprise for many women. In this blog, we'll explore the relationship between pregnancy and yeast infections, and what you can do to reduce your risk and stay comfortable.
First, let's define what yeast infections are and what causes them. Yeast infections are a type of fungal infection that can affect various parts of the body, including the mouth, throat, and genital area. They're caused by an overgrowth of the yeast-like fungus Candida, which is normally found in small amounts in the body. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in the body, leading to an overgrowth of Candida and a yeast infection.
So why are yeast infections more common during pregnancy? There are several reasons. First, the increased levels of estrogen in the body can cause the vaginal walls to become more susceptible to infection. Second, the uterus is also growing during pregnancy, which can put pressure on the bladder and cause urine to back up into the vaginal area, leading to an increased risk of infection. Finally, many women experience weakened immune systems during pregnancy, which can make it easier for yeast to grow and cause an infection.
So what can you do to reduce your risk of yeast infections during pregnancy? There are several simple steps you can take to reduce your risk and stay comfortable:
- Keep the vaginal area clean and dry. Wearing loose-fitting cotton underwear and avoiding tight-fitting clothing can help reduce the risk of yeast infections. You should also avoid wearing synthetic materials, such as nylon or polyester, which can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for yeast.
- Avoid scented products. Products like douches, powders, and sprays can irritate the vaginal area and increase your risk of infection. Instead, use unscented products or just plain water to clean the area.
- Practice good hygiene. Make sure to wipe front to back after using the bathroom, and avoid using strong soaps or bubble baths that can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina.
- Take probiotics. Probiotics can help restore the balance of good bacteria in the body, which can reduce the risk of yeast infections. You can find probiotics in supplements or in foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.
- Get treated promptly. If you do develop a yeast infection during pregnancy, it's important to get treatment as soon as possible. Antifungal creams or pills are safe for use during pregnancy and can help relieve symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading.