What's the best way to treat a yeast infection during pregnancy?

Answers from Roger W. Harms, M.D.

You can safely treat a yeast infection during pregnancy with various over-the-counter antifungal creams or suppositories, including:

  • Miconazole (Monistat)
  • Clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin)

These products can be used at any point during pregnancy and don't pose a risk of birth defects or other pregnancy complications. For best results, choose a seven-day formula. Home remedies or natural treatments generally aren't recommended.

Yeast infections, a type of vaginitis, occur when certain internal or external factors change the normal environment of the vagina and trigger an overgrowth of a microscopic fungus — often Candida albicans. Yeast infections are especially common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Signs and symptoms of a yeast infection typically include vaginal itching and a white, thick discharge that resembles cottage cheese.

If you haven't been previously diagnosed with a yeast infection and develop symptoms for the first time during pregnancy, consult your health care provider before using an over-the-counter yeast infection treatment. What appears to be a yeast infection could actually be another type of vaginitis or other condition that needs different treatment.

Nov. 16, 2012