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Conception, Pregnancy and Yeast Infection
Introduction to Conception, Pregnancy and Yeast Infection aka Thrush aka Candida
Many women who've never had a yeast infection before in their lives find themselves at the end of their rope during pregnancy with a yeast infection.
If a yeast infection is ever going to plague you with itching, burning and all around misery, those forty weeks of pregnancy will probably be when it chooses to strike.
However, far too many women just suffer through their pregnancy, shrug their shoulders, and assume it's all part of the package deal of suffering when that is blatantly untrue.
Relief and a solution to the yeast infection are both well within reach for any woman, pregnant or not.
Yeast infections while trying to concieve can also be particularly annoying.
Again, the estrogen levels in the body during ovulation are quite high, which can make yeast infections a serious problem to women taking certain kinds of fertility treatments.
In addition, of course, you worry about the possible effects of a yeast infection on conception.
The information on this page also does apply to women trying to conceive because you could already be pregnant and not know it. Yes, you can get pregnant even if you currently have a yeast infection and no, it won't harm the baby.
Better safe than sorry.
Causes of Pregnancy Yeast Infections
The first thing most pregnant women want to know, of course, is "Why me? Why NOW?"
Simply put, the various stresses, strains and changes of pregnancy are what causes the problem.
First off, yeast infections are far more likely to strike when stress, poor diet and lack of sleep start compromising the immune system.
During pregnancy, it's hard to eat enough good food for both you and baby, the child's kicking your liver makes lack of sleep a foregone conclusion, and is there anything more stressful than a world suddenly too small for you and your expanding tummy? Not to mention all the other fun craziness of pregnancy like "Excuse me, could you tell me if I'm wearing matching shoes? I can't see my feet anymore," and the charming tendency towards swollen ankles.
In addition, there are all the other, physiological changes that make yeast infections far too likely during pregnancy.
The rising levels of estrogen in the blood change the natural pH of the vaginal canal, bringing it to a pH level that yeast likes a lot more.
Alongside that, the vaginal walls start excreting a lot more glycogen, which is a form of sugar. Yeast, of course, loves sugar and will happily grow in its presence.
In addition, pregnancy can cause the blood glucose levels to start edging up into or going all the way over to gestational diabetes, which really gives yeast a lot of food to thrive on.
On one hand, the yeast that causes yeast infection is everywhere, on the human skin, in the air, and likely on a lot of surfaces.
On the other hand, the yeast used to make bread is not the same species and cannot give you a yeast infection, so at least you don't have that to worry about. If chronic yeast infections are a problem, though, you may want to cut back on bread intake. The starch in bread and pasta is made up of complex sugar molecules and again, Candida loves to feed on it.
Why does trying to conceive contribute to yeast infections?
For women who are currently trying to concieve, both hormone replacement therapy that increases bodily levels of estrogen and the sheer stress of trying to concieve itself can open up the body's defenses to yeast infections.
In addition, sexual intercourse can get simultaneously more frequent and less fun.
Many couples trying to concieve report difficulty with enjoying sex when under such colossal pressure to perform in a reproductive sense.
This combination is sure to irritate the tissues of the vaginal canal, which of course also contributes to yeast infections.
Effects of Pregnancy Yeast Infections
The first thing any conceiving or pregnant woman wants to know about yeast infection is "What effect could this have on my child?"
Ok, it's the first thing after "How do I stop this infernal itching!!" but you get the point.
Fortunately there are pleasant answers to both questions.
An active yeast infection will have no effect whatsoever on either a conception or a developing child.
Yeast infections don't become potentially dangerous to a child until and unless the baby goes through a birth canal with an active yeast infection.
However, yeast infections can increase stress and steal bodily reserves just when the body needs the least of one and the most of the other during pregnancy.
In addition, if the immune system is suppressed for some reason during the pregnancy, the infection can get out of control and transform from a mild health concern into a serious problem.
Women who are still trying to conceive can also keep passing the infection back and forth from themselves to their partner, which doesn't make conception any more fun to think about.
However, the vast majority of women will only experience the normal pain, discomfort, burning and itching of a normal yeast infection.
Yeast infection of the birth canal is quite serious at birthing time.
As previously stated, a child who goes through a yeast infected birth canal is in danger of getting the infection.
Newborns don't have the bodily reserves or the immune system of adults and so are more in danger of getting a systemic yeast infection.
Many newborns won't have any more problems than an adult would.
Oral thrush is quite common in children, and yeast infections in the diapering area are fairly common as well.
Diapering area yeast infections do generally serve as an indication that more frequent diaper changing is in order.
However, if during birth the active yeasts should get into the newborn's bloodstream or too widely spread upon vulnerable skin, the results could be quite unpleasant for all concerned.
Treatments for Pregnancy Yeast Infections
or "What can you take to cure a yeast infection while pregnant?"
The treatment for yeast infections while pregnant or trying to concieve are relatively straightforward.
Care with hygiene is needed, so always wash your hands and wash all linens promptly after use.
Wear loose cotton underwear and change it often.
If possible, sleep without clothing from time to time in order to give the area time in the air. Of course, skip this if using one of the vaginal creams or ointments, it's more important that the stuff stay in than not.
There are a variety of options for immediate relief of symptoms.
Unfortunately, taking a painkilling medication by mouth isn't high on the list. My obstetrician told me that taking acetaminophen was ok during my pregnancies, but you may want to check with your own before downing any.
You may have specific health conditions that I didn't, I can't recommend any medication known to humans during pregnancy, etc., etc. et many cetera. The point is that oral medications don't get tested on pregnant women for ethical reasons, so there's not a pill in the Universe I can tell you to take without you consulting your obstetrician.
On the bright side, I can tell you that a sitz bath in plain, warm water for twenty minutes at a time, three to four times per day will probably help relieve symptoms wonderfully.
Following that up with a towel-wrapped icepack can do even more to relieve inflammation and pain.
Itching so bad that you feel as though your liver's catching fire? Well, the heat and the ice applied alternatively should even do something for that. If it's not working, try a sitz bath with cool water instead. Just don't scratch.
Once you're sure you have a yeast infections instead of something else annoying, bacterial vaginosis for instance, then you can also treat it either with prescription or over the counter creams, ointments or suppositories.
Always use the seven day courses, nothing else seems to work for pregnant women.
Try the over-the-counter stuff first and if that doesn't work, then go for the prescription.
You just don't want to take the oral antifungals except by explicit doctor's orders and even then your doctor should have thought about it for a bit first.
No matter if you're taking OTC (over the counter) or prescription creams, ointments or suppositories, always put them in at bedtime for maximum effect.
If you're going with creams or ointments, spread some about a bit on the mucus membranes around the vaginal opening as well to make sure you've got all the bases covered.
Do remember to take the full course of treatment to make sure all the yeasties are fully dead. Wouldn't want the few survivors to make a comeback just when you think you're cured, would you?
Oh, and get your sexual partner treated as well. Men can have yeast infections without symptoms. If you kill yours and he still has one without knowing it, you'll just catch it again.
About to give Birth with a yeast infection?
If you're 39 weeks pregnant, or staring labor in the face, and still have a yeast infection, you need to talk to your obstetrician if you haven't already. If the birthing staff knows you have an active yeast infection, there's a lot they can do to make sure that your newborn baby doesn't catch it or at least doesn't suffer from it badly.
Once you've dealt with the yeast infection itself, take as many steps as you can to make sure it doesn't come back.
Conceiving and pregnancy yeast infections in Conclusion
While pregnancy and conception make yeast infections more likely, there's a lot you can do to make sure you don't catch another.
Get to know all the yeast infection prevention techniques and you probably won't have to suffer through those miserable symptoms again.
Mini FAQ: on Conceiving and pregnancy yeast infections
What can you take to cure a yeast infection while pregnant? Over the counter creams and suppositories for the most part.
References used for this page on conceiving and pregnancy yeast infection
Reference: Consultation with a obstetrician/gynecologist (namely mine) and two personally endured pregnancies.
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Good luck from: Loni (Researcher and writer ) Donald (Editor and web master).
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