Everyone desire to have a smooth healthy ride during pregnancy. The hormonal changes in the body make the mom-to-be more susceptible to certain infections. The most common infections are vaginal and urinary tract infections (commonly known as UTIs)

Some common infections, their symptoms and treatments are mentioned in this article so that you know when to consult a physician if needed.

1. White Discharge:

One of the most common symptoms experienced by pregnant women. It is almost odourless to mild-smelly, semi-solid, milky discharge from the vagina. The discharge usually increases as you approach labour.

Reason: Increased production of estrogen hormone and increased blood flow to the vagina

You need to consult a doctor in case,

  • You see a lot of clear discharge as you may not be able to distinguish whether it is just mucus or amniotic fluid.
  • The discharge is due to some underline infection.

If the discharge is not because of the infection, then you cannot do much to stop the flow. Use of panty liners can help absorb the extra fluid. Do not use tampons during pregnancy to prevent potential infection because of the same.

2. Vaginal Infection:

The hormonal imbalance during pregnancy make pregnant women more susceptible to vaginal infections. These infections are more common during the second trimester. 

There are mainly 4 types of vaginal infections which are most common

a. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV):

Characterise by an overgrowth of bacterial species in the vagina due to hormone imbalance. The infection can cause severe itching. If remain untreated can lead to premature birth or low birth weight in babies.

b. Yeast Infection:

The overgrowth of fungus (candida) causes the infection. The infection is caused due to imbalance of pH and yeast level in the vagina.

c. Group B Strep:

The bacteria is found in living form in so many healthy women without any symptoms. The GBS usually gets tested between 35-37 week, if present you will be giving antibiotics during birth to avoid transferring the same to a baby.

d. Trichomoniasis:

A very common but curable STD (sexually transmitted disease). The disease can be prevented by using condoms and avoiding multi-partner sexual activities.    

Causes of Vaginal Infection

The causes of vaginal infection range from Hormonal Changes to taking birth control pill, certain antibiotics, Diabetes, Unprotected sex or multi-partner sex and Douching

picCommon causes of Vaginal Infection during pregnancy

Symptoms of Vaginal Infection

Symptoms and the severity vary from one woman to the other, sometimes there might be no symptoms. The infection is diagnosed by examination during your routine medical check-up.

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • White, greenish or yellowish smelly discharge.
  • Excessive discharge.
  • Redness, itching and irritation in the vagina.
  • Burning sensation while urinating or during sexual intercourse.

3. Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs):

Hormonal changes during pregnancy causes changes in the urinary tract, making women more susceptible to UTIs. Also, the constant growth of the uterus exerts pressure on the bladder thus preventing complete emptying of urine, which in turn can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to the growth of bacteria.

Main causes which lead to bacteria entering the urinary tract are:

  • When the stool gets wiped over the vagina after a bowel movement. Always wipe front to back to prevent infection.
  • Catheters (tubes placed into the bladder to empty the bladder).
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • Residual urine in the urinary tract due to partial blockage because of pressure exerted by the uterus on the bladder.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

  • Frequent urination
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Cramps in the lower abdomen
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Urine with odour 

UTIs are common during pregnancy and fortunately, they rarely cause any serious condition. Your physician will check for UTIs during the second trimester and will prescribe the oral antibiotics. If left untreated, UTIs can cause infection of kidneys or lead to other health complications like preterm labour.

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