So you’ve got an itch you need to scratch. And you’re in public. Now what? Curse you, vaginal itching! Why are you even a thing?
Well, it may comfort (or annoy) you to know that vaginal itching during pregnancy is common.
There are a whole lot of changes happening down there at the moment—mainly due to the fact that your hormones are on the upswing—and that can mean a host of new discharges, itches, and smells.
But while vaginal itchy is par for the pregnancy course, that doesn’t mean it’s fun—and, in some cases, it can even be cause for concern.
Itchy vagina FAQ
Often, the first question is:
Is itching a sign of a yeast infection?
Yes, it can be. And they are definitely more common during pregnancy.
They happen when yeast builds up in your vagina.
When you are pregnant, your vaginal secretions are a little more sugary than usual. Yeast loves sugar.
You know what else yeast loves? Places that are moist and warm. We’ll let you put the rest together.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include a thick, white, clumpy discharge, a burning feeling, and, of course, vaginal itching.
Yeast infections during pregnancy are not dangerous, but they can be super uncomfortable.
Definitely worth a doctor’s visit.
Vaginal itching can also be caused by:
This bacterial infection can be a little more concerning during pregnancy.
If left untreated, it can lead to premature birth and low birth weight.
Your vagina has a beautifully balanced ecosystem of different bacteria living in harmony.
If your “good” bacteria (the most common one being lactobacilli) start to lessen in number, the “bad” bacteria (anaerobes) throw a bit of a party. And sometimes things get out of hand.
You’re more at risk of getting bacterial vaginosis when you’re pregnant because of your hormone fluctuations.
It’s not an STI because you technically don’t get it from another person—but it’s often on the STI list because sex can increase the risk.
You may have symptoms, or you may not (it’s about 50/50). If you do, they might include a fishy smell, a thin white-ish greyish discharge, a burning feeling, and of course, drum roll an itchy vagina.
This is an STI. You may have heard it called “trich.”
It’s caused by a little parasite that’s passed between people when they have sex.
Trich is more concerning during pregnancy because it’s linked to early labor and low birth weights.
It often comes with a fishy odor; vaginal discharge that is white, grey, or green; and pain when having sex or peeing.
And, yes, vaginal itching.
How to stop itching down there? Let’s scratch this itch. (Except, really, try not to scratch… if you can…..)
What helps vaginal itching?
Here is the low-down on what to do when your vag is itchy:
For yeast infection: Vaginal creams or suppositories are generally the way to go. While these are usually over-the-counter, get a diagnosis from your doctor first so that you know that a yeast infection is definitely what’s happening. Some antifungal medications are safe but not all. Your doctor will steer you towards the right ones.
For bacterial infection: Antibiotics are often used—but the topic is complicated. While antibiotics are good at getting rid of the bad bacteria, they’re also good at getting rid of the good bacteria. Your doctor may prescribe a probiotic Taking your prenatal vitamins is also a really good idea right now to keep your vaginal microbiome in optimal shape. (Wow. Serious adulting here.)
What home remedy can I use to stop itching?
You might be wondering how to stop vaginal itching naturally. But in this case, it’s probably best to stick with going to the doctor here so that you can get to the bottom of what’s causing the itch.
In the meantime, if you’re wondering how to soothe vaginal itching, here are some tips:
- Avoid douching. Although it may feel like a good idea, it messes with the pH balance of your vagina’s ecosystem, which can lead to infection.
- Keep things as dry and clean as possible.
- Wear cotton underwear.
- Stay away from any offending soaps.
Good luck, mama.
💡 You might also like: Can You Take Probiotics While Pregnant?