Candida Overgrowth and Pregnancy
The changes that a woman’s body endures through pregnancy are said to make pregnant women twice more prone to Candida overgrowth than women who aren’t pregnant. Not only does pregnancy alter your body’s hormonal balance, sugar production and pH, all of which contribute towards Candida overgrowth, but the emotional stress of pregnancy can compromise the immune system, leaving your defences weakened. Even those pregnancy cravings can be detrimental; many women crave foods high in sugar or refined carbohydrates that are not only bad for them, but also great for feeding the Candida yeast.
One of the most common symptoms of Candida overgrowth experienced during pregnancy is thrush and unfortunately if a woman has thrush when they go into labour, there is a chance that the baby will contract it as they pass through the birth canal. Until then, the baby is safely tucked up in the uterus and won’t be affected.
If your baby does catch Candida, it often presents itself as oral thrush – white patches on the sides and roof of the mouth and sometimes the tongue. If this is the case and you’re breast-feeding, the yeast infection can be transferred back to you and can spread. Babies can easily be treated for thrush, but it’s not the best start to life!
Ignoring Candida overgrowth during pregnancy can be tempting, but the condition will only worsen and once the baby is born you’ll be left with a problem that is even harder to treat. Your best chance against Candida overgrowth is prevention, but, failing that, you have several options open to you: antifungal medication, a change of diet, nutritional supplements and/or probiotic supplements.
Before considering any treatment, however, it’s important to consult with your midwife or doctor. A lot of over-the counter medications for Candida overgrowth are unsuitable for pregnant women. Even if it’s medication that you have taken before, it’s still worth checking with a professional.
If you go down the conventional route, depending on your stage of pregnancy, your doctor may prescribe antifungal medications; these will probably be in the form of pessaries and creams (if given pessaries be careful when using them not to put pressure on your cervix). If your condition gets worse or you feel that your prescription isn’t working, go back to your doctor.
As many antifungal medications are not suitable for pregnant women, some feel more comfortable taking a holistic approach to their Candida overgrowth; dietary changes, nutritional supplements and probiotics can tackle both the symptoms and root causes. If these dietary and lifestyle changes are maintained then not only can Candida overgrowth be treated, but reoccurrences can also be prevented.
When it comes to pregnancy, there is no point taking any chances. Whatever you do, make sure it’s the right thing for you and your baby.