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Jennifer L.W. Fink
Registered Nurse

Yeast Infection During Pregnancy

Yup, you guessed it. You're more prone to yeast infections now that you're pregnant. We've got all the answers for treatment and prevention.

What is a yeast infection during pregnancy?

A yeast infection is a vaginal infection that’s caused by an overgrowth of yeast. “Our bodies are covered in yeast,” says Rebecca Kolp, MD, an ob-gyn at Massachusetts General Hospital. Most of the time, the “good” bacteria in our bodies keeps yeast in check. Sometimes, though, the yeast takes hold, proliferates and grows out of control, and you get a nasty infection (sorry!).

What are the signs of a yeast infection during pregnancy?

Vaginal itching, redness and irritation. Women with a vaginal yeast infection also typically notice heavy, cottage-cheese-like vaginal discharge.

Are there any tests for a yeast infection during pregnancy?

Most doctors can identify a yeast infection with a vaginal exam. If your OB is unsure, she may also swab the discharge and send it to the lab for analysis.

How common are yeast infections during pregnancy?

You’re not alone! Yeast infections are super-common during pregnancy, especially during the second trimester.

How did I get a yeast infection during pregnancy?

Pregnancy depresses your immune system, which makes you more prone to yeast infections, Kolp says. Gestational diabetes can also increase the risk of yeast infection.

How will a yeast infection affect baby?

It won’t. You’ll probably be uncomfortable for a while, but baby will be just fine, as long as you get treatment.

What’s the best way to treat a yeast infection?

Over-the-counter treatments like Terazol or Monistat are considered safe during pregnancy — but before you use one, you should get the okay from your OB. She might also be able to help you choose the type of treatment. And if things are really bad, she can prescribe an oral medication to help clear up a stubborn or chronic yeast infection.

What can I do to prevent yeast infections during pregnancy?

Wipe front to back. Wear cotton underwear. Don’t sit around in a wet swimsuit. Dry thoroughly after baths and showers. (Yeast love dark, moist places.) Sometimes, though, they’re unpreventable.

What do other pregnant moms do when they have a yeast infection?

“Like we don’t have enough to worry about, right? I used Monistat.”

“I got a prescription from the doctor for the first one I had. I used Monistat 7 for the second…I personally liked the Monistat better.”

“I’ve had a continual yeast infection since getting pregnant…in four weeks of use, even the prescription didn’t get rid of it. My next OB appointment is next week, and I’m going to bring it up.”

Are there any other resources for yeast infections?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Photo: Bruce & Rebecca Meissner