Viruses and bacteria are a part of life, something we know all too well with coronavirus over the last year. During pregnancy your whole body is affected, and this also impacts on your immune system and hormones which can result in you being more susceptible to viruses. Some viruses go undetected which is why your urine and blood will be checked throughout your pregnancy, but here we look at those common infections you may experience and what to do about it if you do. Thrush Thrush is a common infection in pregnancy and something we looked at briefly in – up close and personal article. According to a study in 2015, around 20% of women have Candida (the fungus which causes thrush) and this increases to around 30% in pregnancy and is most common in the second and third trimester. Symptoms include: Itchiness around the vagina Thick, white, cottage-like vaginal discharge A yeasty odour from the vagina Pain or burning in/around the vagina Pain or burning during sex Treatment Treatment is readily available and can be a cream and/or a tablet which can be purchased over the counter; however, some are not suitable during pregnancy, so it is always best to check with your doctor or midwife first. There are also a number of natural treatments including eating Greek yoghurt to help increase the gut microbiome and reduce the yeast in your body, but if symptoms persist then do seek medical advice. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) This is a bacterial infection in the vagina but is easily treated, however 50% of women with BV do not have any symptoms, if you do have symptoms then they may be some of the following: Symptoms include: Itching, burning or pain in the vagina A fishy odour from the vagina A bad smell which is worse after sex A large amount of thin, grey coloured discharge Treatment BV is treated with antibiotics either in tablet form or gels/creams. If you experience any of the above then do speak to your midwife or doctor. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Group B strep is common in pregnant women but rarely causes any issues. 2 to 4 women in 10 are affected with this type of bacteria, which usually lives in the bottom or vagina. It is not routinely tested but may be picked up during some other routine tests.
If you do have Group B strep then your baby is usually healthy but there is a small risk that it could be spread to your baby during labour and then they become ill, the risk of this is 1 in 1,750 pregnancies. There is also an even smaller risk you could miscarry your baby. Symptoms: There are no symptoms to you but if this is passed onto your baby, then a small number may experience fever, breathing problems, seizures, lethargy and poor feeding. Treatment: If tests do find you have Group B Strep then you may be encouraged to give birth in hospital and to let your midwife know as soon as your waters break. You may also be given antibiotics during labour which can significantly reduce the risk of your baby getting ill. You may also be monitored for at least 12 hours after giving birth. If you are worried about Group Strep B or any of these viruses, then do speak to your midwife or doctor. More on this: