Yeast infection is already a common disease among women, but the chances of getting it are even higher when you're pregnant, especially during your second trimester.1
Pregnant women typically produce higher amounts of estrogen. This in turn makes your vagina produce more glycogen, which is what fungi use for fuel.2 According to Diabetes.co.uk:3
"Glycogen is a stored form of glucose. It is a large multi-branched polymer of glucose which is accumulated in response to insulin and broken down into glucose in response to glucagon.
Glycogen is mainly stored in the liver and the muscles and provides the body with a readily available source of energy if blood glucose levels decrease."
Based on this information, it's clear that sugar plays a direct role in the growth of fungi in your vagina. However, note that glycogen is not inherently bad, as it has an important role in keeping your muscles fueled for exercise, as well as a digestive aid.4
Pregnancy simply raises your glycogen levels, making you more susceptible to yeast infection.
Yeast Infection Symptoms Are Practically the Same for Pregnant Women
Don't hesitate to visit your doctor immediately if you’re pregnant and you think you're experiencing symptoms of yeast infection, as self-treatment might make the infection worse over time. The symptoms of yeast infection during pregnancy are practically the same in those who are not pregnant, including:
• Vaginal discharge
• Discomfort or pain during sex
• Burning sensation during urination
• Redness, itching and irritation on the vaginal area
Treatment and Prevention Tips During Pregnancy
You may reach for oral antifungal medications at the first sign of yeast infection, but they aren't recommended because they can affect your unborn child. An example is Diflucan, an oral antifungal drug that has not been proven safe for pregnant and lactating mothers, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA).5
Treatments for pregnant women include topical antifungal creams and suppositories to protect the baby from exposure to antibiotics. Again, visiting your doctor is important, so that you'll know which treatment is safe for you and your baby's health.
Once you start treatment, it may take a few days before you feel relief from the symptoms. To mitigate this problem, you can place an ice pack on the itchy area or take a cold bath for 10 minutes.6
You can prevent getting yeast infection by wearing comfortable clothing, preferably made from cotton. This will help keep you dry and prevent moisture from accumulating in your vaginal area.
Increasing your intake of probiotics is also recommended, since they help prevent fungi from overgrowing. Fermented foods such as natto, cultured vegetables and homemade yogurt made from raw milk are effective sources of good bacteria.
Yeast May Transfer to Your Baby During Childbirth
If you get a yeast infection long before you give birth, your baby won't be affected. However, if you're going into labor, your newborn may get thrush (oral yeast infection) as he passes through your birth canal.7
Treat yeast infection right away once symptoms appear. You don't want to welcome your newborn into the world with a fungal infection!