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Why Am I Itching Down Under?

By Published On: July 5th, 2012

There are more than a few unpleasant things that Mums to Be often have to deal with over the course of their pregnancy. Uncomfortable weight gain, nausea, swollen ankles, raging hormones. So when a Mum to Be suddenly develops an itch that won’t go away “down under” it can really seem like the last straw!

Usually the culprit is a yeast infection, something all women often have to deal with at any time of their life but pregnant women are just a bit more prone to getting them (those raging hormones again!) You don’t have to suffer for too long though, you just have to understand what you are dealing with, how to treat the problem and how best to try and prevent it from coming back again!

What is a Yeast Infection?

Yeast infections are a common vaginal infection that can strike any woman at any time. Its normal to have a certain amount of yeast down there and that is usually not a problem. The difficulty arises when something kicks yeast production into overdrive and it begins to compete fiercely with other good microorganisms that are there to keep you healthy.

The increased levels of estrogen in a pregnant woman’s body usually leads increased production of something called glycogen, which can often increase the amount of yeast in the vagina. Increasingly some doctors also feel that the estrogen itself might make matters worse, making it easier for yeast to stick to vaginal walls and cause problems.

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Yeast Infection

Some ladies have experienced the misery of a yeast infection before so if one appears while they are expecting they can recognize what the problem is. If you have been lucky enough to have never had to go through the misery of dealing with one though here are the major symptoms you are likely to experience:

  • A persistent itch “down there” that just will not go away. All to often that itch is also accompanied by redness, swelling and a very uncomfortable burning sensation. Cool baths help for a while but the problem seems to come back again just an hour or so later.
  • An discharge that is thick and white. It is usually odorless but it is usually a noticeable change from the norm.
  • Burning when you urinate.

Getting the Right Treatment for a Yeast Infection When You Are Pregnant

If you have ever had a yeast infection before you were expecting then you probably know that these days there are a number of treatments available over the counter that can be used at home without the need for a visit to the doctors or a prescription. These are not things that are suitable for a Mum to Be though as usually, because of their changed hormonal balance, they need something a bit stronger that only a medical professional can prescribe.

The other reason that it is important that an expectant woman visit her practitioner if she suspects she has a yeast infection is that other problems need to be ruled out. Sometimes what seems to be a yeast infection might be masking a more serious issue and taking risks with your health just because you are bit embarrassed to talk to your doctor – and there is no reason to be – is simply not worth it.

If you doctor confirms a yeast infection they will give you a prescription topical anti fungal to begin treating the problem, the oral antifungals that are now available have just not been shown to be safe for use by pregnant women yet.

Most of these treatments are seven day courses and they consist or a cream or suppository that has to be applied every evening. Most women start feeling some wonderful relief (it really is wonderful!) after just a few days though. Just because you do feel better does not mean you should stop the treatment though, its important to finish the treatment exactly how it was prescribed.

One thing Mums to Be worry about is that a yeast infection will harm Baby. That is not the case though. If a woman does happen to have a vaginal yeast infection when she gives birth there is a possibility that Baby would be born with thrush – a yeast infection of the mouth – but that is very mild, easily treatable and many babies are born with the condition even when Mum is perfectly healthy so doctors do know to be on the lookout for it.

Preventing a Yeast Infection When You are Pregnant

Although you may not be able to prevent a yeast infection completly there are a few things you can do that will make the likelihood that will develop one a little less likely:

  • Switch to light, cotton underpants that “breathe” and try to avoid wearing tights whenever possible.
  • If you go swimming change out of a wet bathing suit as soon as possible and if you work up a bit of a sweat while exercising take a minute to change into nice dry, clean underwear.
  • Wash carefully with warm water down there but do not douche when you are expecting as doing so can cause all kinds of problems because you will be washing away “good bacteria”.
  • Try eating yogurts that contain live cultures, which, many medical professionals believe,can help balance out all the bacteria in the intestines and vagina. Yogurt is also a super source of calcium and protein so that will be an extra bonus!