Getting thrush during pregnancy

Did you know you're more susceptible to yeast infections when you're pregnant? Here's why - and what you can do about it

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It’s not unusual for women to get thrush: a very common yeast infection which can cause irritation and unpleasant discharge down below.

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But did you know it can occur more often during pregnancy? Yep. Ain’t that grand? Just another one of those lovely side effects we’ve been telling you about!

Nothing to panic over, though. Here’s everything you really need to know…

What are the symptoms of thrush?

Signs you might have caught a yeast infection are threefold.

Firstly, you might have thrush if you notice an ‘intense itchiness’ of your vagina, or an irritation of nearby parts, such as perineum.

It can also make your vagina feel very dry, and you will notice a thick white discharge in your knickers and when you wipe after going to the bathroom.

If you have these symptoms, the NHS advises you pay a visit to your GP or local sexual health clinic to rule out any other infections.

Why do you get thrush in pregnancy?

It’s the same cause for non-pregnant women, too – an excessive production of the yeast known as candida albicans.

But in pregnancy, the vagina produces a sugar called glycogen, which is apparently very thrush-friendly. It is, of course, caused by hormonal changes.

Sometimes, a bout of thrush is triggered by a course of antibiotics. It can also be caused by a diet rich in sugary snacks, and can more prevalent in people with diabetes or gestational diabetes.

Not great if you’re unable to contain your sweet cravings ?

Could have thrush harm your unborn baby?

Fortunately, thrush won’t harm your baby at all, but because it is uncomfortable, you are best off getting it treated ASAP.

How to treat thrush when you’re pregnant

It’s wise to see your GP before you skip off to the chemists, as they can confirm the correct diagnosis and prescribe a pregnancy-safe pessary or cream.

(This might be a good idea, as your prescriptions are free while you’re expecting).

However, if you are buying over-the-counter remedies, creams and pessaries should be safe, but oral pills are NOT. Buy thrush medication at a pharmacy where you can ask if the specific treatment you want is suitable during pregnancy.

We also have the definitive guide to which Canesten products and other over-the-counter thrush treatment are safe to use when you’re pregnant.

thrush medication in pregnancy

The NHS also recommends that anyone, not just pregnant women, ensure they do the following while they’re on the mend:

  • shower, rather than bathe
  • avoid shower gels, and stick to washing down below with water and emollients (like an E45 cream)
  • properly dry the affected area
  • wear comfortable cotton undies
  • either avoid hanky-panky until the infection’s clear, or make sure to use a condom, so it doesn’t spread (because yes, men get thrush too).

What our mums said

Many of the mums-to-be on our forum have experienced the discomfort of thrush.

“From falling pregnant, I have been plagued by thrush,” rages -moonbeam-. “I have had three treatments so far in this pregnancy and each time have waited until I am practically at the stage where anything with an edge is looking tempting for a good rub.”

“I too suffer really badly,” added EmsieLou6785. “On a Sat/Sun, I actually change [underwear] half way through the day and it’s stopped it. Maybe shower and then strip wash when you can’t or straight after the toilet.

“I think it’s a hormone inbalance but it must be also to do with the fact we wee so often so your constantly wiping and irritating.”

However, the symptoms aren’t so extreme for everyone – but the worry about taking medication is:

“I’m 4 weeks… I have got thrush, it feels uncomfortable more than itchy – like a niggle I can feel down below!” says CupcakeLadyJ.

“I know my doctor has prescribed me these pessaries but just the warnings on them ‘do no use in the 1st 3 months of pregnancy unless deemed essential by your doctor’ has freaked me out.

“I only spoke to my doctor on the phone so I assume, without her having a look (eeew!), she won’t know it’s essential.”

“I had thrush at 35 wks after having antibiotics and the pharmacist wouldn’t give me anything over the counter and insisted I go to docs, who gave me Canesten cream with the pessary,” explains Comeonno2.

“He said I couldn’t take the tablet form and that using the pessary I had to be careful not to put it too far up.”

Eeek ?

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