These 4 vaginal infections are very common during pregnancy (here’s how to relieve them)

These 4 vaginal infections are very common during pregnancy (here’s how to relieve them)
These 4 vaginal infections are very common during pregnancy (here’s how to relieve them)

When a woman is pregnant, she is more likely to develop vaginal infections. There are 4 that are more common than the others. We take stock of each infection.

While being pregnant is a wonderful state where life develops in our womb, pregnancy also comes with a lot of inconveniences. Nausea, vomiting, fatigue but also vaginal infections. In fact, it is not uncommon for vaginal infections to occur during pregnancy. So if you’re pregnant and notice strange vaginal discharge, unpleasant vaginal odor, or an itching or burning sensation, it’s probably one of these. 4 infections.

The most common vaginal infections are: bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, group B streptococcus and trichomoniasis. And if they appear, it is because pregnancy causes unusual and unexpected changes in a woman’s body. These changes unfortunately include an increased risk of developing a vaginal infection. Indeed, scientific research has shown that changes in hormone levels, increased blood flow, and other immune system changes are directly involved. While most vaginal infections are more unpleasant than dangerous, they can become dangerous for your baby if left untreated.

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1/ Bacterial vaginosis

Healthy vaginal flora is home to a range of bacteria and other micro-organisms, such as yeast, which can sometimes become unbalanced. Bacterial vaginosis is characterized by an proliferation of some of these bacteria which are naturally present in the vagina. To diagnose this infection, simply perform a vaginal culture. To treat bacterial vaginosis, you generally need to take a course of antibiotics. A prescription topical gel or cream may also be used to treat this infection.

As for symptoms, bacterial vaginosis causes itching and if left untreated there can be complications during pregnancy, such as premature birth or low birth weight. Be careful not to resort to douching. In fact, health professionals do not recommend douching, which tends to disrupt your vaginal flora. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor if you have symptoms. Here are the different symptoms of bacterial vaginosis:

  • White-grayish discharge, usually thin in consistency;
  • Itching in and around the vagina;
  • Painful urination;
  • Strong vaginal odor, often described as fishy.

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2/ Yeast infection

Increased estrogen and progesterone increase the risk of developing yeast infections during pregnancy. But the good news is that these infections are quite easy to diagnose. In fact, it is enough to perform a vaginal culture to detect it. To treat this infection, you need to apply an antifungal cream or take an oral medication. These antifungal creams and medications are safe to use during pregnancy, but still consult your doctor before taking any new medications. There are some tips to limit the risk of yeast infection, such as eating fermented foods (yogurt for example), but also hydrating well and changing clothes quickly after participating in a sporting activity. Avoid keeping a wet swimsuit on you or wearing clothes that are too tight. It is also recommended to sleep without wearing underwear at night.

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Yeast infection symptoms should disappear quickly after starting treatment. But be careful: boric acid ovules sometimes used to treat infection are not recommended during pregnancy. Symptoms of a yeast infection include:

  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse;
  • Pain and itching in and around the vagina;
  • Redness and swelling of the vagina;
  • Thick, curdled discharge of white-yellow color.

3 / Group B streptococcus

Group B Streptococcus is an opportunistic bacteria, meaning it is only pathogenic if an individual has a weakened immune system. This bacteria is naturally part of the commensal digestive flora but it can sometimes colonize the female genitals. While group B streptococcal infection is generally harmless to adults, it can cause complications during pregnancy. During your prenatal follow-up, you are normally screened for group B streptococcus between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy. If the test is positive, then you will need to take antibiotics during delivery, so as not to pass the infection to your baby.

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Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this infection. But antibiotics reduce the risk of transmission to the baby. And although it is quite rare, a baby who gets group B streptococcal infection could become very ill. Generally there are no symptoms to suspect the presence of group B streptococcus and the infection is not dangerous for pregnant women. However, some pregnant women suffer from urinary infections caused by group B streptococcus, which then results in painful urination and cloudy urine.

4/ Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis. In 2020, there were approximately 156 million new cases of T. vaginalis infection among people aged 15 to 49 years. It is therefore strongly recommended that you get tested to ensure that neither you nor your partner have contracted it, so as not to contaminate each other. If you have caught this infection, don’t panic.

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In fact, trichomoniasis is fairly easily treated with oral antibiotics, such as metronidazole and tinidazole. If left untreated, trichomoniasis can lead to premature births, low birth weight, and other complications during pregnancy. Typical symptoms of trichomoniasis are:

  • Greenish-yellow, foul-smelling discharge;
  • Painful urination;
  • Vaginal itching, burning and irritation, especially during sexual intercourse;
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva.
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