Your entire body undergoes amazing changes during pregnancy. Usually, those changes don’t impact your overall health. However, your vaginal health may change during pregnancy. Understanding the impact that pregnancy can have on your vaginal health gives you the information you need to stay healthy.
Dr. Kevin Jovanovic and Dr. Radoslav Jovanovic specialize in helping women stay healthy, including during pregnancy. In this post we describe the most common vaginal infections that occur during pregnancy, as well as how you can protect yourself, and other ways pregnancy can impact your vaginal health.
There are four types of infections that happen frequently during pregnancy. Two of them, yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, can happen due to changes in your pH levels. With the third, Group B strep, you won’t even know you have it. The fourth infection, trichomoniasis, is a sexually transmitted infection that you can avoid by using protection.
Most women have the uncomfortable experience of a yeast infection at some point or other. During pregnancy, your body produces more estrogen and progesterone, and those hormones can lead to an increased risk of yeast infections.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include vaginal itching and pain, a thick discharge, redness and swelling, and pain during sex. Yeast infections are easy to diagnose and treat, so if you suspect you have one, talk to Dr. Jovanovic.
When there’s an overgrowth of the bacteria in your vagina, the result is bacterial vaginosis. When you have this infection, you have an increased discharge, itchiness, and pain during urination. It’s easily treated with antibiotics.
Group B strep
There aren’t always symptoms with Group B strep, but you may have pain during urination. All pregnant women are tested for Group B strep toward the end of their pregnancies. That way they can be treated prior to giving birth so the infection isn’t passed to the baby.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection. It’s easily treated, but your best bet is to use protection during sex or to have sex with only one partner who has tested negative for it.
Other vaginal health concerns
You may develop varicose veins in your vagina during pregnancy. This is normal due to the increased blood flow to the area. You may not like the way it looks, but there’s no danger to your health.
You may also have incontinence issues during pregnancy due to the increased pressure on your bladder. For most women this problem clears up within a few weeks of giving birth. Some women have changes in their vaginal tissues resulting in laxity.
If you continue to experience urinary leakage and vaginal laxity long after your baby is born, we have treatments that can help, such as Femilift and laser vaginal rejuvenation.
If you have concerns about your vaginal health during your pregnancy, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jovanovic. We’re happy to answer your questions, and provide any diagnostic tests that you need.