Hormones. Thanks to these natural substances, you have glossier locks, bigger boobs and that enviable pregnancy glow. But this is also the most common reason behind your yeast infection!
Explains SmartParents ob-gyn expert, Dr Christopher Chong, “Due to the hormonal changes, there is more sugar produced in the vaginal secretions and yeast grows well under such conditions.” Diabetic mums-to-be are also at higher risk of infection because of the high sugar content in their urine.
Incidentally, it can be tough to clean your nether regions effectively as your baby bump is in the way. Coupled with your reduced immunity during pregnancy, a yeast infection may be the result. Yeast — and other bacteria — can also enter your vaginal canal, too, when you have intercourse during pregnancy.
The scary news is that your yeast infection — caused by the candida albicans fungus — could pose a serious health risk to your unborn baby. However, Dr Chong explains that for infection to occur in the foetus, the water bag would have to be broken, which is an emergency anyway.
“Due to the hormonal changes, there is more sugar produced in the vaginal secretions and yeast grows well under such conditions.”
Dr Chong points out that if you get a yeast infection during pregnancy, this could “cause your resistance to drop further and for more serious infections to set in.” In the worst case scenario, it could trigger premature labour!
Though the risks are low, your baby could catch the yeast infection — called thrush — during labour. If necessary, your paediatrician will probably prescribe an anti-fungal mouthwash and medication to treat your baby’s condition. Follow Dr Chong’s suggestions to lower your chances of getting an infection:
1) Practise good personal hygiene
Besides bathing daily, Dr Chong points out doing simple things like using clean underwear or changing your panty liners regularly can help reduce the risk of infection. After relieving yourself — whether it’s a #1 or a #2 — make sur you clean from front to back. Also, keep your vaginal area dry.
2) Observe a balanced diet and exercise
Click for three more expert tips to combat the risk of a yeast infection…
3) Load up on probiotics
Did you know that the probiotics in yoghurt can help you keep a yeast infection at bay? Dr Chong explains, “As it has the good bacteria, lactobaccilus acidophilus in it, [yoghurt] can help to improve resistance in the vaginal canal.” If yoghurt isn’t your cup of tea, you could also amp up your probiotics levels with gels that you apply in your vagina.
4) Get enough shut-eye
Getting enough quality sleep will increase your resistance to picking up infections. In any case, a good night’s rest is vital to the healthy development of your foetus. Dr Chong suggests that you could consider sleeping without underwear, so as to air the area.
Getting enough quality sleep will increase your resistance to picking up infections.
5) Follow your doc’s orders
If your doctors have prescribed vitamins or supplements for you, be sure you consume them, Dr Chong advises. If your resistance to infections as a result of stress or because you’ve fallen ill, yeast can travel up the vaginal canal easily.
If you are worried that you already have a yeast infection, Dr Chong cautions against self-medicating. He says “It is unsafe to do so as it can lead to misdiagnosis and the condition can get worse. Medical treatment is best left to the doctors!”
Dr Christopher Chong is a SmartParents expert and obstetrician-gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital.
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