I wasn’t surprised when a few women at a prenatal care meeting complained about feeling sick to their stomachs and not wanting to eat particular foods. What did surprise me though, was the woman who stood up and proclaimed that she had a chronic yeast infection. The other mothers seemed a little uncomfortable too, until the midwife loudly admonished all of them, telling them if they were trying to pretend they didn’t have yeast infections during pregnancy, they were probably lying. I wondered if having yeast infections was one of those unspoken symptoms nobody wants to tell you about.

Vaginal yeast infections are one of the most common effects of pregnancy. Changes in hormonal balance as well as vaginal acidity increase the instance and severity of yeast infection, particularly during the first trimester. Some women will endure chronic yeast infections for several weeks as their bodies settle into pregnancy and become more accustomed to the changes in vaginal flora. Many women, however, will not properly identify yeast infections and will, instead, assume they are experiencing other symptoms of pregnancy such as increased vaginal discharge or increased sensitivity to smell that would cause them to be able to detect the odor of their own bodies. These symptoms, however, can be an indication of a serious yeast infection.

While yeast infections generally are not cause for much concern, even for pregnant women, they can become extremely unpleasant. The itching and burning can be quite intense, and the strong smell of the discharge can be nauseating. Particularly virulent infections can contribute to feelings of fatigue and weakness as the body fights the infection while also addressing the other increased needs of a pregnant body. Women are encouraged to discuss their yeast infections with their practitioner so they can begin an appropriate and safe course of treatment. As with any type of medical treatment during pregnancy, women should not take or use any type of medication without the approval of their practitioner.

Source: Abbott, Jean, Clinical and Microscopic Diagnosis of Vaginal Yeast Infection: A Prospective Analysis, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 25, Issue 5, May 1995, pp 587-591.