Pregnancy is not always pretty. Sometimes, it can be down right itchy. In their second trimester, many pregnant women will experience the tell-tale signs of a yeast infection: odorless "cottage cheese" discharge from the vagina, accompanied by itchiness around the vaginal lips and/or burning during sex or urination.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, do NOT panic: this is totally normal.
While they are certainly a nuisance, yeast infections are easily treatable. And better yet -- you can treat most infections with items already in your pantry!
What causes a yeast infection during pregnancy?A number of other factors cause yeast infections, including one or more of the following:
- Hormonal changes that come with pregnancy or before your period
- Taking hormones or birth control pills
- Taking antibiotics or steroids
- High blood sugar, as in diabetes
- Vaginal intercourse
- Blood or semen
- Elevated stress levels
How do I treat my yeast infection naturally?
We love trying natural remedies when we can. Here are a couple widely lauded treatments that women, pregnant or not, have used to get rid of their YIs. As always, consult with your doctor before treating yourself.
YOGURT. Since yeast infections are caused by "bad bacteria" running rampant, introducing good bacteria can help you win the microscopic war happening in your nether regions. And that's where yogurt comes in.
Yogurt contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, a bacterium that happens to be found in healthy vaginas. While some women treat their YIs by consuming a ton of yogurt, the faster and more direct approach requires shoving the good stuff right up there.
There are a few ways to do this. The easiest way is to apply a bit of yogurt on the tip of a tampon and insert. Others use a syringe (sans needle, of course) or condiment bottle to squeeze the yogurt into the vagina. For pregnant moms who want a cooling treat, make frozen yogurt popsicles by filling the fingers of disposable gloves.
When the yogurt has hardened, pop out the yogurt stick, and insert into the vagina. Many women prefer the frozen pops because they help relieve swollen, irritated labia as well. If you try treating your yeast infection with yogurt, make sure to use plain, unsweetened yogurt. Flavored yogurt will introduce additional sugar into your vagina, which will only increase yeast.
GARLIC. Aside from being dee-licious, the medicinal properties of garlic has been revered for ages. When used to treat a yeast infection, garlic's natural antifungal properties actually kill off yeast.
While you can eat garlic bread morning, day and night, there's a more expedient way to help treat your infection. I think you know what I'm getting at. If the infection is mild, many natural Mamas advise inserting a fresh clove of garlic into the vagina every 4-8 hours until symptoms subside.
The first thing you want to do is peel the clove. Many warn against nicking the skin, since its juices can sting inside the vagina. However, every woman's business down there is different, and some have reported no stinging at all.
Experiment with different "doses" to see how your body reacts. For a stronger treatment, pierce the clove with a fingernail several times. If the stinging isn't too bad, try slicing the clove in half. While the garlic clove can't get lost inside you, removing it may involve a few moments of panic and some acrobatic maneuvers. That's why many women tie a string around the clove for easy, quick removal.
Have you had a yeast infection during pregnancy? If you've tried these natural remedies, did they work well for you?