Candida in pregnancy: everything you need to know

Candidiasis (better known as candida) is a vaginal infection caused by yeasts (a type of fungus), of the genus Candida. The most common is Candida Albicans.

Normally candida lives inside the human body without causing any problems. It is found in places such as the mouth, throat, intestines and vagina, as well as on the skin. But sometimes it can multiply and cause candidiasis, a phenomenon that occurs if the environment in which it lives changes in such a way as to encourage its growth. It can also happen in the vagina. Below we will see how to cure candida, what are the symptoms, the risks and the remedies.

Why is candida common in pregnancy?

Candida is one of the most common vaginal infections during the nine months of waiting, especially during the second trimester of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the increased levels of estrogen in the bloodstream also lead to increased production of glycogen in the vagina. Glycogen in turn favors the proliferation of yeasts .

Taking antibiotics also favors a yeast infection because, in addition to killing the bacteria for which it is taken, it can reduce the normal protective bacteria of the vaginal flora, thus allowing these yeasts to grow uncontrollably.

What are the symptoms of candida?

Candida mainly presents with:

  • Odorless, white, lumpy discharge that looks like cottage cheese
  • itching, burning, redness and sometimes swelling in the vagina and in the labia minora and labia majora
  • discomfort during intercourse (sometimes pain)
  • discomfort when urinating (sometimes pain)

What are the causes of candida?

Candidiasis can be more frequent during pregnancy due to hormonal changes that occur in women. However, candida is not a typical phenomenon of pregnancy, but occurs whenever there is an alteration of the vaginal environment (in normal conditions it has a pH of 4-4.5 which allows the mucosa to be defended against the onset of infections ).

The causes of candida can be as follows:

  • hormonal changes that occur before menstruation
  • taking hormones (birth control pills)
  • taking certain medications such as antibiotics
  • diabetes
  • weakened immune system (for example, due to HIV infection or from drugs that weaken the immune system, such as steroids and chemotherapy)
  • the frequent use of vaginal washes (douches) which alter the vaginal flora and pH

The following are factors that predispose to the onset of candida:

  • a diet too rich in sugars, or leavened or fermented foods
  • the use of synthetic undergarments
  • sexual intercourse

Surely there is also an individual predisposition . For this reason there are women who never suffer from candida and women who instead have more episodes a year.

What to do in case of candida?

If you think you have a yeast infection, always see your doctor. Your doctor will do a swab to rule out other causes that give similar symptoms.

If candidiasis is confirmed, the doctor will prescribe an antifungal cream or ovules. In case of pregnancy, she will prescribe suitable medicines by evaluating the risk/benefit.

It may take a few days of treatment before you start to feel relief. In the meantime, you can soothe the itching with cold compresses or using cold water .

Usually a cure of about 10-14 days is needed and it is important to complete it to eradicate the infection.

Why do I have to talk to the doctor?

Candida symptoms can be confused with other sexually transmitted infections. Many women treat infections incorrectly, delaying proper treatment and making the problem worse. Antifungal medications are available without a prescription, but it’s important that the correct cause of the inflammation is diagnosed! For this, it is best to consult a doctor.

Candidiasis in pregnancy: does it cause problems for the baby?

No, a candida infection does not cause any problems for the child.

However, it should be known that if the infection was present at the time of labor there is a possibility that the newborn will contract it as it passes through the birth canal. If this happens, he could develop an infection in his mouth known as thrush .

Can I pass on candida to my partner?

Candida can be transmitted through sexual intercourse.

In a male partner, symptoms may include redness, a rash, itching, or burning. If you develop a yeast infection, it may be best to abstain from sex during treatment, after consulting your doctor.

How to prevent candida?

Most candida infections can be avoided by:

  • wear loose, breathable cotton clothing and cotton underwear.
  • use mild, hypoallergenic, unscented soaps
  • avoid leaving the genital area moist after a shower/bath
  • shower immediately after swimming, remove your bathing suit or wet workout clothes as soon as possible. Always wipe from front to back when going to the bathroom
  • avoid vaginal washes/douches
  • do not use intimate sprays
  • do not use scented soaps
  • do not use scented or colored toilet paper
  • do not use pads that contain perfumes
  • Include yogurt with “lactobacillus acidophilus” in the diet
  • Limit your sugar intake, as sugar promotes yeast growth
  • proper rest helps your body fight infections

Can I get pregnant with candida?

Yes. Having a candida infection does not affect your chances of getting pregnant. At least, not directly: it must be considered that if itching and irritation prevent you from having sex, it is natural that it is less likely to become pregnant.

The infection can be passed on to your partner so it would be best to avoid sexual contact while you have any type of vaginal infection.

Candida does not kill sperm but it may make it more difficult for them to move due to the size of the discharge.

How to cure candida naturally? The expert answers.

  1. Yogurt with live lactic ferments: just a teaspoon in the evening before going to bed
  2. Douching with sodium bicarbonate in the morning
  3. Garlic in the vagina: peel a large clove of garlic without cutting it, wrap it in gauze and introduce it into the vagina, in the morning and in the evening
  4. to calm the itching you can use a chamomile-based cream: rinse the vulva several times a day
  5. tincture of calendula and hydraste diluted with potassium dichromate

Midwife Sara Notarantonio
in collaboration with

Candida or leucorrhoea of ​​pregnancy? The expert answers.

“Hi, I’m 20 weeks pregnant and for some time now I’ve been noticing an increase in white discharge and a slight burning sensation in my private parts. Could it be candida? Is it possible to harm the baby? Thank you”

If the losses you have are white and not smelly then they are physiological, know that their increase is normal during pregnancy. In this case we speak of leucorrhoea gravidarum  and it is not a disease. Can suspect candidiasis when the losses change in consistency and are accompanied by burning and itching. In the meantime, follow these tips:

  • you wear cotton underwear;
  • avoid clothes that are too tight
  • cut down on sugar and other sweeteners such as honey;
  • drink green tea with every meal

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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