What Are the Causes of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?
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Yeast Infection and Pregnancy - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Management

Published on May 05, 2023 and last reviewed on Aug 16, 2023   -  4 min read


Yeast infection during pregnancy is most common in women, especially during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Read the article to know more.


Yeast infection is the most common vaginal infection in pregnant women. Yeast infection is also known as vaginal candidiasis and monilial candidiasis. During pregnancy, women are at increased risk of infections, including urinary tract infections (UTIs). Yeast infection is more common during the second (from four to six months) and third trimesters (from seven to nine months) of pregnancy. Yeast infection is a fungal infection that leads to irritation and foul odor discharge from the vagina. The fungal infections are caused by the Candida family, commonly by Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis. The fungi grow in warm and moist climates. The infection occurs when the normal level of acid in the vagina is imbalanced, which allows the yeast to grow. Around 75 percent of pregnant women suffer from yeast infections. Yeast infection is generally harmless and can be treated with antifungal ointments. The infection has to be treated as early as possible because of the risk of transferring the infection to the baby during labor or delivery.

What Are the Causes of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?

Yeast infection is a fungal infection. The Candida family, such as Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, and Candida glabrate, cause yeast infections during pregnancy. The infection occurs when in pregnant women, the average number of fungi living in the vagina increases to cause symptoms.

What Are the Risk Factors for Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?

There are various risk factors for yeast infection during pregnancy, including:

Why Is Yeast Infection Common During Pregnancy?

Yeast infection is common in pregnant women because of changes in the hormone level in the body. Pregnancy increases the release of the hormone estrogen, which can disturb the vaginal balance. In addition, pregnant women have a high amount of sugar in their vaginal secretions making the yeast grow and cause infection. Some factors increase the risk of yeast infections, including pregnant women taking steroids, antibiotics, impaired immune system, having diabetes, vaginal intercourse, and taking hormone medications.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?

It is normal to increase vaginal discharge during pregnancy, but the discharge during yeast infection differs. The normal discharge during pregnancy is a thin, milky, and mild-smelling discharge known as leukorrhea. In pregnancy, the woman may experience multiple yeast infections, leading to chronic symptoms that take longer to resolve. The condition is more serious during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and may lead to damage to the baby during delivery or labor. The yeast infection symptom during pregnancy depends upon the progression of the infection. The symptom lasts for a few hours to days or weeks. The symptom of yeast infection during pregnancy includes:

  • Itching, redness, and irritation of the lips of the vagina.

  • Burning sensation during urination and sexual intercourse.

  • Pain in the vagina.

  • Rashes on the vagina sometimes appear on the groin and thighs.

  • Discharge during pregnancy is thick, white, green, or yellow, depending upon the severity of the infection.

  • Thick white vaginal discharge looks like cottage cheese.

  • White, lumpy, odorless vaginal discharge.

  • Oral thrush (ulcers) in the mouth.

How Is Yeast Infection Diagnosed During Pregnancy?

If a pregnant woman suspects a yeast infection, a doctor must be contacted as soon as possible. The investigation includes:

  • Physical Examination - The doctor will use a painless tool or cotton swab to take a sample of the vaginal discharge. The sample is checked under a microscope to check the yeast infection that causes infection.

  • Laboratory Diagnosis - The doctor will take a sample of vaginal discharge and send it to the laboratory for culture. Culture helps to find out the fungi causing infection, such as Candida albicans or Candida tropicalis.

How Is Yeast Infection Managed During Pregnancy?

As the symptoms develop, the pregnant woman can make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. If left untreated, the yeast infection can pass to the baby during labor or delivery, causing thrush in the mouth. The doctor may prescribe Nystatin for oral thrush.

The physician recommends the drugs like Clotrimazole, Miconazole, and Terconazole during pregnancy, which are safe. Oral medications like Diflucan can clear the infection within a few days, but it is not proven safe during pregnancy. A doctor prescribes antifungal creams and ointments like Terazol or Monistat are safe and effective. It may take 10 to 14 days to get completely rid of the infection. Some complicated symptoms may take more days to subside. A doctor will prescribe scratch-free powder like Nystatin powder to prevent recurring infection after clearing the infection.

How Can Yeast Infection Be Prevented During Pregnancy?

It is better to prevent the cause of infection than to cure it because prevention is better than cure. To prevent yeast infection, pregnant women can consume food rich in probiotics (a mixture of live bacteria). There are several steps to prevent infection and recurrence. The preventive measures are as follows-

  • Wear loose, breathable cotton underwear to keep the vaginal area dry.

  • Avoid synthetic and tight pants.

  • After thorough washing, wipe from front to back to keep the area dry.

  • Clean the genital area with warm water every day.

  • Sleeping without underwear or bottoms at night allows airflow.

  • Avoid using vaginal sprays and deodorants.

  • Avoid sitting in a wet bathing suit.

  • Take showers instead of a bath.

  • Limit the sugar intake in case of diabetes because sugar increases yeast growth.

  • Include yogurt containing the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus in the diet.


Yeast infection during pregnancy is the most common concern. It is better to consult a doctor to keep it under control. Yeast infections are easy to treat but can cause some long-term complications. A healthcare team, including doctors, and nurses, can educate pregnant women from the start of the pregnancy. Pregnant women can take preventive measures to eliminate the infection because prevention is better than cure.

Last reviewed at:
16 Aug 2023  -  4 min read




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