Most common infections in pregnancy and how to prevent them

One of the greatest gifts in life is the time when two people are expecting a baby. When it comes to the mother especially, could there be a bigger miracle than to actually have your son or daughter growing and developing inside of your body?

Yet, even with all of the amazing transitions that the baby is doing over those three trimesters, the reality is that your body is going through a ton of changes too. Unfortunately, one of them would be that due to your many hormonal shifts, you may find yourself vulnerable to getting certain kinds of infections.

If there is a silver lining to this kind of “health cloud”, it’s that many of them are fairly common and easily-treatable. As a matter of fact, when it comes to the ones that we have included in this article, they are also infections that have steps that you can take to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Here are three infections that are oftentimes associated with pregnancy along with some tips of how you can keep them from happening to you.

Yeast Infection. All of us have yeast in our body. A yeast infection is simply when there is an overgrowth of yeast in our systems to the point that it produces cottage cheese-like discharge, a slight odor, extreme itching and sometimes irritation during urination and intercourse. Oral treatment is becoming more and more of a common way to cure the symptoms of a yeast infection, but when you’re pregnant, this is not advised. Therefore, it’s best to see a doctor before treating it with over-the-counter medication or even holistically (like apple cider vinegar douches or acidophilus pills). However, ways that you can prevent a yeast infection include wearing cotton underwear, using soaps that are for sensitive skin, eating plenty of yogurt (because it naturally has acidophilus in it) and keeping your sugar intake to a minimum (yeast thrives off of sugar).

Bacterial Vaginosis. Something else that we all have within our body is bacteria. And, just like yeast, a hormonal shift can cause the “bad” bacteria to outnumber the good. When that happens, some women develop an infection that is known as bacterial vaginosis; it is actually very common in women who are child-bearing age as well as pregnant women. Symptoms of this particular infection include a foul-smelling, watery discharge, vaginal irritation and a burning sensation during urination. If you do have any of these symptoms, it’s best to have a doctor officially diagnosis you so that s/he can recommend the best bacterial vaginosis treatment. Do take special note that some studies support that having this infection and leaving it untreated has the potential of resulting in preterm delivery, so it’s important to take proactive steps in not getting it by practicing good hygiene, avoiding regular douching (the vagina is a naturally self-cleaning part of our bodies), eating a balanced diet, avoiding scented tampons and not wearing any tight or damp underwear.

Urinary Tract Infection. If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection before, then you can probably vouch for the fact that they are extremely comfortable. They are common among pregnant women because as their pregnancy develops, their urethra (the tube that carries the urine inside of the body out) becomes shorter, which makes the body more susceptible to receiving bacteria enter inside of the body. Symptoms include a burning during urination, blood in the urine, frequent urination and if it has further progressed into the body, abdominal chills, back pain and nausea/vomiting. Due to the fact that a lot of pregnant women tend to be asymptomatic when it comes to this particular infection, they tend to be tested regularly throughout their pregnancy. An untreated urinary tract infection can lead to a bladder infection, kidney infection or even a premature birth, so if you are pregnant, there are even over-the-counter tests that you can take to diagnosis a urinary tract infection in between doctor visits. Ways to keep this infection at bay are to drink plenty of water (and unsweetened cranberry juice), eat a limited amount of processed sugar, urinate immediately following intercourse and to practice good hygiene (including wiping from front to back at all times). In all cases, if you have any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, make sure to let your doctor know. Remember, you are not just taking care of one person now, but two, and both of you need to enjoy this time of growth and change completely infection free.

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