Most expectant moms spring for new undies: not sexy ones, but practical “granny panties.” They not only accommodate a growing belly, but they can also be good throwaways considering all the unexpected things that are going on down below during pregnancy. In the United States alone, an estimated 15.3 million new cases of STDs are reported each year. Women are just as likely to get these during pregnancy. And what is this weird vaginal discharge? Sometimes, it occurs from organisms that are passed between sexual partners. During pregnancy, changing hormones and increased blood circulation in the vaginal area cause a discharge called leukorrhea. Probiotics may also help; try Udo’s Choice Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotic.
In the latent, or hidden, stage, the symptoms listed above disappear, but the symptoms from the second stage can come back. This yeast is commonly found in the vagina in up to 16% of non-pregnant women and 32% during pregnancy. Changing your underwear often or wearing panty liners can help keep you feeling dry. If left untreated, they can lead to serious conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Another completely normal type of vaginal fluid appears during the last few weeks of pregnancy. The symptoms: Chlamydia may produce no discharge or one that is slightly odorous. The treatment depends on the type of STD.
In a small number of cases, the bug is passed to the baby during delivery and it can lead to a blood-borne infection or even meningitis. If the mucous is pink or streaked with blood, however, this usually means that labor will take place within 24 hours. Yeast is normally present and well-balanced in the vagina. You should see your doctor about any vaginal discharge that is heavier or different than expected during pregnancy, since the stakes are higher than usual. Having a sexually transmitted disease during pregnancy can lead to preterm labor and a uterine infection after delivery. Some STDs, like syphilis, cross the placenta and infect the baby while it is in the uterus. As your body prepares for birth, amniotic fluid may also leak steadily (or emerge in a gush) from the vagina.
If this happens and you are less than 37 weeks along, notify your doctor or midwife. Bacterial vaginosis is the most common type of vaginitis in women of reproductive age. Some types of vaginal discharge may mean that you have a yeast infection, bacterial infection, or a sexually transmitted disease (STD). You also can perform “prophylactic voiding”—going to the bathroom before you have the actual sensation of needing to go. In addition, some experts recommend that women who have had a premature delivery in the past be screened and treated for bacterial vaginosis at the first prenatal visit. The fungus may proliferate and upset the balance of organisms in the area. Because of the hormones that are flooding your body and changing the vagina’s chemical environment, you are more susceptible to yeast infections than ever.
It is caused by a one-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis that passes between partners during sex. Although you do need to get treatment promptly if the fungus gets out of hand, yeast infections will not affect the fetus during pregnancy. It’s not unusual for some pregnant women to spot after intercourse or a pelvic exam. Women who test negative for hepatitis B may receive the hepatitis B vaccine during pregnancy. Like a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis (BV) — which can be transmitted through sex — results from an imbalance in the microscopic organisms in your vagina. Many of the same symptoms may be present, such as itching and irritation, but BV often produces a distinctive fishy-smelling discharge and a burning feeling while urinating. This type of vaginitis can cause complications during pregnancy and, in some cases, has been linked to preterm delivery.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women with BV are more likely to have babies who are born too small or too soon. Pump or hand express your milk from that breast until the sore clears. Your doctor or midwife can help you determine whether you should be tested. If you’ve had a premature or low birth weight baby in the past, you should also be tested for BV. Another source of viral vaginitis is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that is also transmitted through sexual contact. Tests on vaginal fluid will determine whether you have BV, and treatment usually consists of the antibiotics metronidazole or clindamycin, according to the CDC.
Another reason for abnormal discharge is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), which is acquired through sexual contact. If your doctor has ruled out a yeast infection, he or she will likely screen you for STDs — particularly if you’ve had sex with more than one person, or suspect that your partner has had sex with someone else. If not, request that you be screened. Some STDs can cause premature labor and postpartum uterine infections, so it’s always better to get tested just in case. Both vaccines are approved for use in females between the ages of 9 and 26. If left untreated, STDs can lead to serious problems for your baby such as stillbirth, low birth weight, brain damage, blindness, and deafness. Some STDs, like chlamydia, can lurk in cervical secretions while showing few symptoms for months or even years, so most doctors recommend chlamydia screening during every pregnancy, regardless of your current relationship patterns.
Many women infected with chlamydia have no symptoms at all, so if you have engaged in unprotected sex or have had multiple sexual partners, it’s a good idea to get checked out even if you are symptom free. Don’t be reluctant to seek help; there’s nothing wrong or shameful about having been sexually active. Equally important, just knowing that you have an STD — and getting treatment — will help you protect you and your precious baby. Another form of noninfectious vaginitis, called atrophic vaginitis, usually results from a decrease in hormones because of menopause, surgical removal of the ovaries, radiation therapy, or even after childbirth–particularly in breastfeeding women. For example, if you have active genital herpes sores at the time of labor, you may choose to have a c-section to protect your baby from the disease. If you’re HIV-positive, doctors will prescribe a medication that dramatically reduces the chance that you’ll pass the virus to your baby. To be in a monogamous relationship with a partner who is free of STDs.
(The only way to know for sure is for both you and your partner to be tested.) Use a spermicide-free latex condom. This isn’t 100 percent effective, but it can greatly reduce your chances of contracting an STD. Talk with your doctor and get screened for STDS if necessary. Don’t douche. Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing, especially undergarments. Dry your vaginal area thoroughly after washing. Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet (this will also help prevent urinary tract infections).
Change wet or damp clothing promptly. Don’t use any toilet paper or feminine product, including tampons and sanitary pads, that contains deodorant or scents. Avoid bubble baths — tempting as they are, they can irritate the vagina and encourage infections. Health News is provided as a service to Hazel Green Pharmacy site users by HealthDay. Hazel Green Pharmacy nor its employees, agents, or contractors, review, control, or take responsibility for the content of these articles. Please seek medical advice directly from your pharmacist or physician. Copyright © 2016 HealthDay All Rights Reserved.