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Thrush is fairly common during pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester.

It’s a time when your body undergoes a lot of hormonal changes. Specifically, you’ll produce more oestrogen than normal and this creates the ideal environment for candida albicans (the fungus that causes thrush) to multiply.

Your symptoms will mostly be the same as if you had thrush before falling pregnant. However, some women notice that there’s more vaginal discharge than normal.

Our doctors can prescribe effective treatment that will help you manage your symptoms. Our team will then get in touch with a pharmacy near you to arrange collection that is as simple and convenient as possible.

What can increase your chance of thrush during pregnancy?

As well as the hormonal changes taking place in your body during pregnancy, there are a few other factors that can make thrush more likely.

Sex

While thrush isn’t an STI, sometimes it can be triggered by sex. In particular, having sex when you’re not fully aroused has been shown to increase the likelihood of a thrush outbreak.

Antibiotics

The fungi in your vagina are balanced out by a range of bacteria, which stops candida albicans from multiplying. If you’re taking antibiotics, they can accidentally kill off some of these ‘good bacteria’.

Of course, you need to be careful about taking antibiotics while you’re pregnant anyway. You should always check with a doctor that what you’re taking is safe for you and your baby.

Diabetes

Diabetics need to take extra care to keep their blood sugar under control. If it’s too high, this provides candida albicans with the sort of environment it enjoys, so it’s more likely to multiply.

Ways to reduce your risk of thrush

While sometimes the hormonal balance of your body means thrush can’t be stopped, there are things you can do to make it less likely.

  • Avoid perfumed bathroom products that might irritate the skin around your vagina
  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Wear loose, comfortable underwear (which many pregnant women do anyway)

Treating thrush during pregnancy

There are three main forms of treatment for thrush, but not all of them are appropriate if you’re pregnant. Our doctors will make sure you are given medication that is safe for you and your baby.

Thrush can spread to the breasts, so if you get thrush while you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need to get treatment for you and your baby.

Pessary

In the early stages of pregnancy, this is the most likely form of thrush treatment. A pessary is a suppository that is inserted in the vagina using a special applicator.

There is a small risk that the applicator can damage the cervix if it’s not used properly. Your doctor will explain exactly how to insert the pessary safely.

Pessaries might not be prescribed during the later stages of pregnancy, but the idea that they might induce premature labour is a myth. Possible side effects can include redness, soreness or itching around the vagina.

Antifungal cream

These can deal with any soreness or itching and are perfectly safe to use during pregnancy.

Tablet or capsule

While these are usually a common thrush treatment, the specific antifungal medicine they contain isn’t suitable during pregnancy.

The possible side effects include nausea, which would be particularly unhelpful if you were already experiencing morning sickness.

Can thrush harm your baby?

No, thrush can’t be passed on while your baby is still in the womb.

If you have thrush when you give birth, it’s possible that the infection could be passed to your baby. However, this is nothing to worry about. It can be easily treated and it won’t make them any more likely to get thrush in the future.

If they do pick up the infection, it will be in the form of a mild bout of oral thrush. You can identify this by checking for white patches in their mouth.

Alternative treatments for thrush

As thrush is so common, you may read about certain ‘natural remedies’ online. From yoghurt to garlic, our experts have looked at why these treatments don't work here.