Vaginal discharge is one of the many changes that occur during pregnancy.Increased Vaginal Discharge is because of hormones meddling with your vaginal mucus. Estrogen increases blood flow to the pelvic area and increases activity of the mucus around the vagina. This can cause discharge which is thin, milky white and mild smelling. This leakage starts at the beginning of the second trimester and increases as you near the end of your pregnancy.
Vaginal Discharge plays a key role in the self-cleaning process of your lady parts. During pregnancy, this function has a more important role than ever. Increased discharge helps the vagina to prevent infections and protect the baby. But since your immune system is already working hard to protect the new life growing inside you, this role might get hampered with.
Burdened Immune System sometimes fail to protect you from certain complications. This includes vaginal infections and also is the reason why pregnant women are more prone to cold, cough etc. In this blog, we are going to talk about 3 of the most common vaginal infections pregnant women have to deal with and how to distinguish whether the discharge is normal or not.
What is Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial Vaginosis is caused by pH imbalance in the vagina. Lacto Bacilli present in the vagina maintains its acidity, which prevents other bacteria from growing in there. When you suffer from BV, you have less Lactobacilli, which allows harmful bacteria to thrive in your lady parts.
How common is Bacterial Vaginosis?
10-30% women experience this, which is at an average of 1 in 5 women.
What are the Symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis?
- Thin White-Grayish Discharge
- Pain during urination.
- Unpleasant Smell, which increases after you have had sex.
- Itching Around Vagina
What are the Complications of Bacterial Vaginosis?
- Low Birth Weight of the Baby.
- Preterm Labor.
- Premature Rupture of Membranes.
What is the Treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis?
Bacterial Vaginosis can be treated by taking in antibiotics, which can reduce the number of harmful bacteria growing on your vagina. This treatment can help in the reduction of various complication that underlies with this infection.
How can you Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis?
- Use Condom when you have sex since Semen can worsen the situation.
- Stop Douching the area.
- Don’t bathe in too many scented oils, bath salts etc.
- Make sure that your vaginal area is dry. Wipe any water off even after you have a bath.
What is Yeast Infection?
Candida Albicans is a yeast which normally grows around the vagina and maintains the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina. When this balance is broken, the yeast multiplies and causes symptoms.
How common is Yeast Infection?
Very common. Around 50-60% of the women have it.
What are the Symptoms of Yeast Infection?
- Redness, Itchiness in the vaginal area especially around vaginal lips.
- Discharge, which is white and resembles cottage cheese.
- Discomfort during Sex/Urination.
Whar are the Complications of Yeast Infection?
Yeast Infection never pose any serious complications. It can be transferred to your baby in the form of thrush in his mouth.Otherwise, even your OB/GYN will not be worried about it. Yeast infections generally get treated by topical creams or any other natural remedies. (mentioned below)
What is the Treatment of Yeast Infection?
An OTC antifungal cream will be given to you by your doctor. DO NOT use any self-prescribed creams (read on the Internet or any other source), since the doctor prescribes you the cream based on the trimester you are in and also any other complication your pregnancy might include.
Eat more Yoghurt since it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. Taking bath with 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar mixed also helps since it has anti-fungal properties.
How can you Prevent Yeast Infection?
- Wear comfortable underwear, since moisture and humidity are the ultimate food for yeast.
- Limit Sugar Intake, as sugar promotes the growth of yeast.
- Stay Well-Hydrated and eat foods which contain more water like cucumber, strawberries, watermelon etc.
- Eat complex carbohydrates and whole grains as compared to refined flour as they can increase your glucose levels.
Group B Strep Infection or GBS:
What is GBS?
Around 25-30% of all healthy woman have GBS living inside their system either inside vagina, rectum or their intestinal system. It’s unclear what causes GBS test to be positive during pregnancy.
How common is GBS?
It is only common for the mothers who have already had GBS living in them before pregnancy. They might pass it to the baby too.
What are the Symptoms of GBS?
Every pregnant mother is scanned for this test when they are around 35-37 weeks pregnant. It will be done within 5 weeks of your due date.
What are the Complications of GBS?
GBS can cause UTI in rare cases. You need to contact your doctor immediately if you have a cloudy urine and pain and burning sensation during urination.
GBS can be transferred to your baby (1 in 200 chances). Symptoms which indicate that you are at a high risk of delivering the baby with GBS includes:
- You have been tested GBS positive in the previous pregnancy.
- You have a fever during labour.
- Labour before 37 weeks.
- Rupture of membranes 18 hours or more before delivery
What is the Treatment of GBS?
Your doctor will give you antibiotics while delivery through IV, which will reduce the chances of your baby getting them.
How can you Prevent GBS?
Unfortunately, GBS can’t be prevented.
An imbalance in hormones and not taking care of your vaginal area might lead to complications among the infections mentioned above. There isn’t always something you can do about it. Women have the tendency to blame themselves for not taking care of their body enough or at times they even question their self-worth. But they need to know that some things are not in their hands. What was your emotional story on dealing with complexities mentioned above? Jot down your feelings in the Comments Section below.