Do you have any advice for dealing with a yeast infection while pregnant? I've been using plain yogurt and washing with apple cider vinegar. My doc said lots of women experience this during pregnancy and she recommended Monastat 7. I did that for a bit, but it came back and I would prefer something more natural. I know I should cut out sugar and stop eating chocolate, but I'm pregnant!!! Ahhhh! What should I do?
Elizabeth Cougar, CA
Dear Elizabeth Cougar,
I am so sorry to hear that you have a yeast infection, and while pregnant! That totally sucks. You are on the right track, though, with the apple cider vinegar and yogurt and I will give you some specific remedies below. You are also correct in that you do need to cut down on your sugar consumption, not only to cure the yeast infection, but also to have a healthy pregnancy. Most sugary sweets provide little if no nutritious benefit while pregnant and can make your yeast infection worse and increase your weight gain. A little chocolate here and there is o.k.; moderation is key. I don’t think I could’ve made it through any of my pregnancies without dark chocolate!
First, let’s talk about some natural remedies to cure your yeast infection:
--Apple Cider Vinegar Sitz Bath--
Take a sitz bath with warm water and apple cider vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is antibacterial and will kill the yeast. Fill a dish basin or the bathtub up with warm water, just enough so that when you sit in the basin or the tub, your bottom is fully submerged. Add about a cup of ACV to the basin or about 1 qt. to the tub. Soak yourself in the sitz bath until the water gets cold, at least ten minutes. I usually only need to do this once, but it sounds like since your yeast infection is recurring, you may want to do it a few nights in a row. This remedy will kill the yeast and be soothing to the outside of your yoni, where the tissues get sore and irritated from the yeast and itching/scratching.
--Apply Plain Yogurt--
The yogurt is great! Make sure it is plain, real yogurt with the probiotics, L-Acidophilus and Bifidus, not the kind of yogurt that is like custard and is mostly sugar with no beneficial microflora. You can put the yogurt all over your yoni and even up inside, and it will help kill the bacteria and soothe the itchiness. If you still have the applicator from the Monistat 7, you can fill it with yogurt and use it to apply yogurt up inside your yoni, or your fingers will work just fine.
--Use Lavender and Tea Tree
Apply Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils to a warm wet wash cloth and clean yourself with it. You can do this 1-3 times per day. Sprinkle on about 8 drops of lavender and about 2-4 drops of tea tree onto the wet washcloth, before cleansing your yoni. It will have a cooling sensation, this is normal. The lavender and tea tree essential oils are antibacterial and will kill the bacteria. Lavender is also very soothing to inflamed skin.
Second, let’s talk about a couple of ways that you can modify your diet to help cure the yeast infection, naturally:
--Take a Probiotic Supplement--
Probiotics help to maintain a healthy digestive tract. You want to take a supplement that has both L-Acidophilus and Bifidus microflora, the same ones found in your yogurt. Renew Life makes a good probiotic for women called, Ultimate Flora Women's Complete.
--Reduce Your Dairy Consumption--
Dairy creates a perfect breeding ground for bad bacteria. Try to reduce your milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, etc...just until your yeast infection is gone. You will have to eat other foods high in calcium during this time so that you still get your recommended calcium intake while pregnant.
Non-dairy foods rich in calcium are, dark leafy greens, such as collard greens and kale, broccoli, and almonds. For a list of calcium-rich foods, check out this article, 14 Non-dairy Foods That Are High in Calcium, by Christine Mattheis, over at www.Health.com.
I totally understand about not wanting to cut out chocolate...I don't think I could do that! But, maybe try to switch to dark chocolate for a little while so that you have less dairy in your diet, since yeast loves dairy.
--Reduce Your Sugar Consumption--
Yeast also loves sugar! When I was pregnant with my fourth child, my midwife told me to focus on my protein intake to help curb my sweet tooth and that totally worked! I tried to eat the recommended 60-70 grams of protein per day for a pregnant woman; when I did that, I didn't crave hardly any bad sweets.
You can eat whole pieces of fruit in place of candy and pastries. Kiwis were the best! They are super sweet and jam packed with good nutrients, lots of Vitamin C., and fiber, all great things to eat while pregnant. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are awesome fruits to eat, as well, since they are loaded with antioxidants.
Good luck and I hope these ideas help!
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