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5 common vaginal hygiene problems during pregnancy you must pay attention to

Pregnancy comes with so many ups and downs. Due to several changes in your body and lack of hygiene, you may experience several vaginal problems during pregnancy.
Vaginal infections during pregnancy
Awareness about vaginal infections during pregnancy is important. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 28 Aug 2023, 18:43 pm IST
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Pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative journey in a woman’s life. However, it brings with it a series of changes and challenges, some of which pertain to vaginal hygiene. Maintaining proper vaginal hygiene during your journey to motherhood is crucial to ensure both the well-being of the expectant mother and the baby. Otherwise, a lack of hygiene can increase the risk of several problems, ranging from mild infections to haemorrhoids, which can cause a lot of discomfort and pain. Read on to learn about some common vaginal hygiene problems that pregnant women may come across.

Common vaginal hygiene problems during pregnancy

Dr Suhasini Inamdar, Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar, Bengaluru, spoke to Health Shots about this problem. She said, “Being pregnant can be one of the greatest joys in your life. But the baby bump can also hamper your view down there, which can make it tough to maintain good intimate hygiene when pregnant. You can still practise basic vaginal hygiene practices to keep yourself protected from such problems.”

Here are 5 vaginal hygiene problems that are common during pregnancy and how to deal with them:

1. Increased vaginal discharge

One of the most common changes experienced during pregnancy is an increase in vaginal discharge. This discharge, called leukorrhea, is typically thin, white, milky and mild-smelling. It occurs due to hormonal shifts and increased blood flow to the pelvic area. While it is a normal and necessary part of pregnancy, it can be uncomfortable.

vaginal discharge
If the discharge is unusual, consult with a doctor. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Wear breathable cotton underwear to allow proper air circulation. Avoid using scented products and opt for gentle, fragrance-free soaps for cleansing. Consult a healthcare provider if the discharge becomes unusually coloured, foul-smelling or accompanied by itching.

2. Yeast infections

Pregnancy hormones and weakened immune systems can create an environment that encourages the growth of yeast, leading to yeast infections, such as candidiasis. Symptoms include itching, burning, redness and a thick, white discharge.

To prevent and manage yeast infections, maintaining good hygiene is crucial. Keep your genital area dry and clean but avoid scented soaps or feminine hygiene products. Consume a balanced diet and consult a healthcare professional for safe antifungal treatments if needed.

3. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

UTIs are more common during pregnancy due to the pressure of the growing uterus on the bladder, which can slow down urine flow and prevent complete emptying of the urinary tract. Uncomfortable symptoms like frequent urination, a burning sensation during urination, and lower abdominal pain are related to a UTI.

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uti symptoms
UTI is very common during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

To prevent UTIs, pregnant women should drink plenty of water to flush bacteria from the urinary tract and urinate frequently. Wiping from front to back after using the toilet helps prevent the spread of bacteria from the anal area to the urethra. If you develop UTI symptoms, it is essential to seek prompt medical attention, as untreated UTIs can lead to more severe complications.

4. Haemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids, swollen blood vessels in the rectal area, are a common issue during pregnancy. They can cause pain, itching and discomfort, especially during bowel movements. The increased pressure on the pelvic blood vessels, along with hormonal changes, contributes to their development.

Maintain a high-fiber diet to prevent constipation, which can exacerbate haemorrhoids. Use gentle, fragrance-free wipes or water for cleaning after bowel movements. Also, do not forget to keep yourself hydrated. If haemorrhoids persist, consult a healthcare professional for appropriate treatment options.

5. Sensitive skin

Pregnancy hormones can make the genital area more sensitive, increasing the risk of irritation from harsh soaps and fabrics. This can lead to irritation, itching, and discomfort.

vaginal problems
Keep your vaginal health in check. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

To maintain vaginal hygiene and comfort, it is essential to choose mild, fragrance-free soaps for washing the genital area. Avoiding tight clothing and using breathable fabrics can reduce friction and irritation. If sensitivity persists or worsens, consult a healthcare provider for guidance on safe topical treatments or ointments.

Maintaining proper vaginal hygiene during pregnancy is necessary for the health and comfort of both the mother and the baby. It’s important to remember that every pregnancy is unique, and consulting a healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance is always recommended.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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