4 Vaginal Infections That Are Common During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

What to look for — and how to treat — four common vaginal infections during pregnancy.

4 Pregnancy-Related Vaginal Infections: What You Need to Know

The Infection: Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Signs You've Got It:

  • Grayish-white discharge that's usually thin in consistency
  • Painful urination
  • Itching around your vagina

What You Need to Know:

BV, which is diagnosed with a simple vaginal culture at your doctor's office, occurs when there's an overgrowth of bacteria that normally lives in the vagina. If this itchy infection is left untreated, it can persist, resulting in premature birth or low birth weight — so it's definitely worth mentioning to your doctor. Occasionally, BV goes away on its own, but usually it's treated with a course of antibiotics.

The Infection: Yeast Infection

Signs You've Got It:

  • Pain and itching in the vagina
  • Thick, curdled whiteish-yellow discharge
  • Redness and swelling of the vagina
  • Discomfort during sex

What You Need to Know:

Thanks to an increase in estrogen and progesterone, yeast infections are more common during pregnancy. Fortunately, they're easily diagnosed with a vaginal culture, and treated with either a cream, ovule, or an oral antifungal medicine. You can reduce your risk of yeast infections by eating yogurt often, staying well hydrated, and sleeping underwear-free.

The Infection: Group B Strep (GBS)

Signs You've Got It:

  • Usually, there aren't any signs, but some women experience urinary tract infections due to GBS, which results in painful urination and cloudy urine.

What You Need to Know:

You will automatically be tested for GBS between 35-37 weeks. If you test positive, you'll be given antibiotics during your delivery, so you don't pass the infection along to your baby. Unfortunately, there's no way to prevent it.

The Infection: Trichomoniasis

Signs You've Got It:

  • Itching, burning, and irritation during sex
  • Greenish-yellow, foul-smelling discharge

What You Need to Know:

Trichomoniasis is a sexually-transmitted disease, so prevention is key. Get tested to make sure neither you nor your partner has it and passes it back to the other; use condoms; and stick to one sexual partner. Fortunately, trichomonas is one of the most treatable STDs, requiring only oral antibiotics, such as Metronidazole and Tinidazole.