Facts about thrush and pregnancy

Common among women, vaginal yeast infection ­– known as thrush – is mainly caused by the Candida fungus and affects 3 out of 4 women during their lifetime1. Often developed as a result of taking medication or overly tight clothes and underwear, pregnant women can get thrush because of the rapid changes affecting their bodies. Hormonal imbalances, and especially the high level of oestrogen, increase the likelihood of developing vaginal thrush.

If you develop thrush during pregnancy or whilst trying for a baby, you should not worry. Here are some facts about thrush that every soon-to-become mother should know:

  • Although it may cause discomfort or pain during sex, thrush will not prevent you from getting pregnant

  • Thrush is not known to harm your unborn baby

  • If passed on during delivery, thrush in babies is usually harmless, easy to spot and treat

1. Sobel. JD. Lancet 2007; 369: 1961-71.

Avoiding and treating thrush during pregnancy

There is a number of precautionary steps every pregnant woman can take to lower the risk of developing thrush while pregnant. They are easy, practical and effective in preventing a vaginal yeast infection. Proper hygiene, breathable cotton underwear, and regular check-ups with your GP are some of the things that help lower the risk of thrush.

However, if you have still developed a yeast infection, first see your GP before undertaking any treatment. Your doctor may recommend vaginal pessaries, such as Canesten 1 Day Pessary or Canesten 6 Day Pessary, as these are most suitable for pregnancy. It's important to know that oral capsules containing fluconazole should not be taken during pregnancy for treating thrush.

Given that prevention is better than cure, here are some tips to help you avoid thrush:

  • Wear breathable cotton underwear that is not too tight
  • Ensure proper hygiene but avoid bubble baths, using soaps or any personal care products made with harsh chemicals around your vagina
  • Do not douche as it might increase the risk of vaginal irritation and disrupt the vaginal pH balance
  • Change underwear daily and wash it in hot water
  • Wipe from the front to the back ­to stop the bacteria from being transported to your vagina