Can a fungal infection be transmitted to my baby during pregnancy?

First trimester, Health advice, Pregnancy, Questions/answers, Second trimester, Third trimester

Marie, I’m 29 weeks pregnant, and I have a fungal infection. Can I infect my baby?

I’m worried…

Thank you for your answer.

Alexandra

Dear Alexandra,

Your baby is protected by the amniotic sac and the closed cervix. This helps protect the baby from the outside world.

Women will often have pregnancy vaginitis when carrying their baby, but the baby will never be infected. Based on information from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), 20% of women can have a natural vaginal environment containing yeast (fungi) but never have symptoms.

During pregnancy, changes take place in the vaginal environment, which at the outset was more acidic (acidic vaginal PH). This transforms due to hormones, increasing glycogen (sugar) levels. This new environment is very conducive to the development of fungi, due to the dampness, heat and sugar found in it. 

Here are vaginitis symptoms:

  • Pain in the form of a burning sensation;
  • Possible redness of the vulva and the vaginal mucosa on examination;
  • Itching of the vagina or vulva;
  • An increase of whitish vaginal discharge that looks milky;

Symptoms can aggravate during sexual relations.

 

If you smell an unpleasant odour of fish in your discharge, it can be infectious vaginitis. There are likely bacteria, and this transforms the vaginitis into vaginosis. 

The SOGC recommends treating vaginitis during pregnancy with antifungal creams applied externally, or via intravaginal ovules for a period of at least seven days and sometimes up to 14 days. Canesten, Monistat, and Gynecure are often suggested. Oral medication using Fluconazole should be avoided during pregnancy as there are insufficient studies about possible anomalies for the baby. 

If you’re diagnosed with vaginosis, the doctor will prescribe the necessary antibiotic to deal with the situation, even during pregnancy.

Talk soon Alexandra, and take care of yourself!

Marie,

The Baby Expert

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