june 2019

Yeast Infections During Pregnancy

Find out more about what thrush is, why it occurs is pregnancy, how to prevent it and how to treat it.

3 min read Malena Monteverde pregnancy Recommended Products
vaginal thrush during pregnancy

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What is thrush?

Thrush is caused by Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus that lives within our ‘gut’ as part of our microbiome. However, this can become bothersome when it overgrows (for example, due to diet and life-style choices, the intake of antibiotics, etc) or if it thrives when there is a pH imbalance within the vagina.

Thrush is common, with around 75% of women developing it at least once during their lifetime. Thrush can also be found on other parts of the body, such as in the mouth, within or under the breast/s or in the penis. This means that it can be spread among sexual partners, although it is not classed as a sexually transmitted infection.

Pregnancy hormones, a course of antibiotics and diabetes can all be a trigger for women to develop a bout of vaginal thrush, as these can all disturb the body’s pH balance. Once you have developed thrush, it can disappear naturally or there are treatments available which target the yeast growth and ease the symptoms.

Developing thrush during pregnancy will not harm your unborn baby. However, if you have thrush during the birth, it can be passed to your baby. A paediatrician will advise on how to treat your baby if this happens.

What are the symptoms of vaginal thrush?

Thrush can cause irritation of the vagina, the vulva and the surrounding area and can even spread onto the upper thighs if it doesn’t clear up naturally and is left untreated. It can present as swelling, a white lumpy discharge (often described as resembling cottage cheese), sometimes a white-ish watery discharge, mild pelvic pain and, most commonly, it causes varying degrees of itchiness.

How can I ease and help to prevent thrush?

  • Try to wear loose fitting underwear and clothes made from natural fibres such as cotton, silk and linen- these are more absorbent and hence help your skin to breathe more easily. If you can, go pant-free to allow air to circulate freely.
  • Make sure your washing detergent or fabric conditioner isn’t causing or increasing the irritation by changing to a milder or anti-allergy type.
  • If you use pads or panty liners make sure they are natural or fragrance free. Even better, invest in washable ones which you know are free from chemicals and you can wash in a fragrance-free washing product of your own choice. They are also softer, so don’t rub and irritate the vulval area any further.
  • If your underwear or clothes become sweaty or damp for any reason, for example when swimming or exercising, change into fresh clothing as soon as you can. Thrush loves a damp, warm environment in which to multiply.
  • Avoid using perfumed soaps and shower gels as these can irritate you further. It is best to wash your vulva with plain warm water only. If you are still struggling with irritation from the itchiness you can try relieving this with Spritz for Bits, as it is safe to use during pregnancy.
  • Do not douche (rinse or clean out the vagina w