Yeast infections are common and impact millions of women every year. Even so, many women will experience their first yeast infection, or potentially her first outbreak of several yeast infections, during her surrogacy journey. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the second trimester of pregnancy represents the time in a woman’s life where she is most likely to experience a yeast infection.
So why is there an increased likelihood of a yeast infection in surrogacy if you never experienced one during your own pregnancies? The link could be because several potential causes of a yeast infection occur all at once as a woman prepares to become a surrogate. For example, some common causes of yeast infections include:
- Hormonal changes related to pregnancy
- Starting hormone therapy treatments (including birth control pills, estrogen, or progesterone treatments)
- Taking antibiotics or steroids (a common component of your pre-transfer medical protocol)
- An increase of sugar in the diet (sweets are a common craving for pregnant women)
- An influx of Vaginal intercourse (potentially before or after doctor ordered pelvic rest)
- Blood or semen in the vagina
Often characterized by an increase and change in appearance of your normal vaginal discharge and a persistent, insatiable itch, yeast infections are caused when the levels of yeast and acid in the vagina are out of balance. Both elements are present in your body normally, so the presence of bacteria is not the problem; it is the unbalance that presents the issue.
While yeast infections have no major risks or implications to the pregnancy, they can still be uncomfortable and problematic for you, especially if left untreated. Yeast infections during pregnancy can be difficult to control, so it’s best to get early treatment.
Additionally, and unlike traditional pregnancies, yeast infections in IVF pregnancies and surrogacy may require a different form of treatment than your standard over the counter creams. This is because many IVF doctors do not want the creams or their plastic applicators introduced to your vagina in the early stages of your pregnancy. While some doctors may be okay with the creams with hand application only, other doctors may choose to call in a prescription to treat the infection orally.
We understand that it can feel embarrassing and invasive to tell your nurse about a potential yeast infection before simply self-treating with over the counter medications, but in the case of surrogacy, you should absolutely mention symptoms to your nurse, even if this is a multi-occurrence infection. Treatment is key, because if it is left untreated, the yeast infection can be transferred to the child you are carrying during birth, leading to a condition of the mouth called Thrush.
Once you begin treatment you can expect to experience relief from the symptoms within 10-14 days, although most treatments will begin to offer relief from many of the symptoms within 48 hours.
If you find that you are experiencing repeated yeast infections during your journey, you may opt to introduce the following natural prevention measures in order to try and stave off any future infections.
- Wear loose clothing
- Wear cotton underwear
- Always wipe from front to back after using the restroom
- Limit sugar intake, as vaginal yeast feeds on sugar
If you have additional questions or concerns, try to focus on feeling comfortable mentioning this to your nurse or Case Specialist. Sending an email to approach the subject may offer you a bit more comfort than mentioning it in a call, but do understand that both your case specialist and your nurse manage these sorts of issues every day, and that they’re nothing to be embarrassed by.