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Pregnancy Yeast Infections and How To Treat Them Safely

Updated 5/17/2021

Medically reviewed by Dr. Atmika Paudel, PhD - Written by Dan Jackowiak Nc, HHP and Dr. Shalaka Samant, PhD

Dr. Shalaka Samant, PhD says... The information presented in the article below about pregnancy yeast infections and safe and natural ways to treat it is medically correct.

Pregnancy yeast infections are one of the hardest of women's yeast infections to get rid of because immune function typically drops to prevent it from attacking your baby. There are also a few risks associated with childbirth and when trying to conceive that everyone should be aware of. They should not be taken lightly for your baby's health, as well as your partners.

Some doctors will say it is totally safe to try to conceive even if you have a vaginal yeast infection. This is absolutely crazy thinking, since you are risking the overall health of your partner. During sex, the urethra of the male is susceptible to a male yeast infection. The yeast can enter his urethra and give him a male yeast infection and he can give it right back to you at a later time. Uncircumcised men are at a greater risk of skin yeast as well.

If you have a pregnancy yeast infection during childbirth, it has been found that the yeast infection can be given to the infant through the mouth as it passes through the vaginal canal. The baby will usually develop thrush, an oral yeast infection. This will look like dried patches of milk but will not rub off easily and can be very painful for your baby.

Dr. Shalaka Samant, PhD says...

Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), often referred to as a yeast infection, is a common gynecologicailment, (1) affecting 3 out of 4 women in their lifetimes. Vulvovaginal candidiasis is caused by overabundant growth of yeast cells, belonging to the Candida species, in the vaginal mucosa. Although, not being a threat to life, it is unpleasant and problematic, causing a variable degree of itching and whitish discharge, which is abundant and flocculent. More than 40% of affected women will have 2 or more VVC episodes (2) and infection occurs more frequently in pregnant women, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy, when a variation in progesterone and estradiol, associated with an increase in vaginal pH, favors the emergence of these infections. 

1. Local treatment of vulvovaginal candidosis : general and practical considerations. Drugs. 2008;68(13):1787-802. 
2. Vaginal candidosis: epidemiological and etiological factors. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2000 Dec;71 Suppl 1:S21-7

pregnant woman

During pregnancy, estrogen levels rise steadily and reach their peak in the third trimester. These levels are the highest they will ever be in your entire life. Progesterone also rises allowing the ligaments and joints to loosen throughout the body. Progesterone also allows the uterus to expand in size as your baby grows. Normally progesterone offsets the effects of estrogen but studies have shown otherwise when pregnant.

In a study done by Microbiologists Paul L. Fidel, Jr., Jessica Cutright and Chad Steele from Louisiana State University, which was published in Infection and Immunity in 2000. They said:

"On the other hand, one may speculate that it is the peak levels of estrogen during the short ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle that precipitate the vaginal infection and that the symptomatic infection does not fully present itself until the luteal phase. Similarly, based on our data, one would predict that despite high levels of progesterone during pregnancy, the high incidence of vaginitis in pregnant women is more likely due to estrogen".

Doctor Nima Aghaeepour and colleagues from the Stanford University School of Medicine published a study in Science Immunology in 2017 that found that during pregnancy, the immune system goes from a heightened state to allow for a successful attachment of the fertilized egg. Then for the first 12 weeks this heightened response allows the fetus to get fully established. This inflammatory response is why you will have morning sickness.

For the next 15 or so weeks your immune system is suppressed to allow the baby to develop. It is during this time that the mother is more susceptible to the flu, colds, urinary tract infections, and due to the extremely high levels of estrogen, vaginal yeast infections.

When you start approaching the time of delivery, the  immune system gets super active again and creates an inflammatory state in the uterus which triggers delivery.

Dr. Shalaka Samant, PhD says...

It is believed that higher estrogen levels and higher glycogen content in vaginal secretions during pregnancy increase a woman’s risk of developing VVC. Careful consideration of the benefit to the mother and the risk to the fetus (3) is required when prescribing antifungal therapy in pregnancy. As various drugs might have an effect on the fetus during pregnancy, the use of drugs (4) should be minimized in the pregnant woman. For instance, oral azoles (very common antifungals) are contraindicated or, at least, should be avoided during pregnancy (5) and breast feeding because of safety issues to the fetus or baby, with local therapy usually being recommended.

3. Coleman T. King, P. David Rogers, John D. Cleary, Stanley W. Chapman, Antifungal Therapy During Pregnancy, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 27, Issue 5, November 1998, Pages 1151–1160
4.  Varsha V Moudgal & Jack D Sobel (2003) Antifungal drugs in pregnancy: a review, Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, 2:5, 475-483, DOI: 10.1517/14740338.2.5.475 
5. das Neves, J., Pinto, E., Teixeira, B. et al. Local Treatment of Vulvovaginal Candidosis. Drugs 68, 1787–1802 (2008)

How To Treat a Pregnancy Yeast Infection Safely

I do definitely recommend that if you get a pregnancy yeast infection while pregnant to treat it naturally and avoid modern drugs if at all possible. The prescription medicines are extremely hard on the liver both in adults and the fetus. However, this is your choice and you must do what you feel is best for you and your baby.

Dr. Shalaka Samant, PhD says...

Due to the increasing evidence of resistance to antifungals and also the potential risk of systemic absorption of these agents despite topical use, several studies have been developed toward the identification and evaluation of efficient alternative therapeutics (6).

6. Candida species: current epidemiology, pathogenicity, biofilm formation, natural antifungal products and new therapeutic options.  Journal of Medical Microbiology Volume 62, Issue 1  01 January 2013

Because yeast infections are caused by a lack of good bacteria and usually hormonal changes. I recommend you take a quality probiotic in large doses to build up the bacterial colonies in the intestine and vagina. 

The best probiotics to take for pregnancy yeast infections are Profase, at a dose of two capsules twice a day, or the 11-Strain probiotic powder at a dose of 1 adult scoop 2 times a day minimum. Go ahead and review the articles and make your own decision on which one is best for you.

You can combine either probiotic with the prebiotic Floraphage to send their numbers through the roof. Floraphage also helps your existing good bacteria to grow and controls E. coli, which is the primary bacterium that causes urinary tract infections.

Yeast also builds a biofilm over the top of itself as a means of protection from your immune system, this allows it to basically hide underneath. If you add enzymes that strip the biofilm and also eat the yeast with the probiotics, treatment success rates increase considerably. I recommend Biofase for these biofilms and pregnancy yeast infections.

Sf722 contains pharmaceutical grade undecylenic acid derived from castor bean oil. It is a mono-unsaturated fatty acid that occurs naturally in the body's perspiration. It has been found to be approximately six times more effective than caprylic acid extracted from coconut oil and is helpful in maintaining a healthy balance of intestinal and vaginal flora.

Extra-virgin cold-pressed Coconut Oil is also totally non-toxic and has been proven to explode the nucleus of the yeast cell from the inside out effectively killing it. You should take a tbls by mouth 2 times a day and cook with it as well because it is very heat stable. It can be used to make suppositories as described here by Ion.

Coconut oil capsules can also be used directly in the vagina to kill vaginal yeast. It is best to insert these at night before bed. Be sure to wear underwear with a pad because the oil will leak.

All these things are absolutely 110% safe to treat pregnancy yeast infections. They will not harm you and your baby in any way shape or form.

Dr. Shalaka Samant, PhD says...

The use of nutritional supplements or herbs seems to be the best option to help and control C. albicans overgrowth, and to promote a healthy bacterial flora. Probiotic local therapy with products containing lactobacilli has been proposed as an alternative option for the prevention of VVC,

The most studied compounds that act as natural agents against C. albicans (7) are caprylic acid (8); berberine-containing plants; probiotics; grapefruit seed extract; garlic; tea tree oil (9); and enteric-coated volatile oil preparations containing oregano, thyme, peppermint and rosemary; propolis; ginger and cinnamon.

The consumption of yogurt containing live probiotic cultures is recommended in order to replace friendly bacteria. The yogurt should however not be a sweetened one. In some cases, for vaginal candidiasis, a natural unprocessed and unsweetened yogurt can be applied directly into the vagina or a mixture of one small container of plain yogurt with an equal amount of water can be used as a douche, once or twice a day, until improvement is observed.

Alternatively, or complementary, it is also possible to take supplemental Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, or to open two capsules of Profase and add the contents to a douche. It is also recommended to consume daily oat bran and/or flaxseed, not only as a source of fiber, the latter being also effective due to antifungal properties.

Foods with high content of sugar should be avoided as C. albicans grows in high-sugar environments.

7. Martins, N., Ferreira, I.C.F.R., Barros, L. et al. Candidiasis: Predisposing Factors, Prevention, Diagnosis and Alternative Treatment. Mycopathologia 177, 223–240 (2014).
8. Japan. J. Microb.,Vol. 5, No. 4, 1961UDC: 576. 882. 822. 3. 095.  18  : 547. 295. 6 FUNGICIDAL ACTION OF CAPRYLIC ACID FOR  CANDIDA  ALBICANS. August 14, 1961.
9. Antifungal activity of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) against pathogenic fungi in vitro. Skin Pharmacol. 1996;9(6):388-94.

Medical Review by Dr. Atmika Paudel, PhD

It is well known that the female body undergoes changes in pregnancy in terms of metabolism, hormone levels and immunological reactions including the microbiome of genital tract. That too can be different depending upon the stages of pregnancy.

Already immunocompromised conditions such as diabetes make this microbiota drastically different leading to dysbiosis. Dysbiosis of the normal flora encourages Candida growth, and Candida colonization further displaces the normal flora. On top of that increased estrogen level during pregnancy favors Candida colonization and protects the yeast from anti-fungal agents by reducing the susceptibility of Candida towards the anti-fungal agents.

As most of the drugs cannot be taken while pregnant due to the safety concerns to the fetus, topical antifungal remains the first line of treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis during pregnancy.

Therefore, as emphasized in the above article, it is advisable to focus on improving the good bacteria of the intestine as well as vagina. It is easier to understand that orally taken probiotics can improve intestinal microbiota as they reach to the intestine via oral route, however; people may wonder how can orally taken probiotics improve vaginal microbiome? Well, it is still a point of debate and some studies have shown that there was no improvement in vaginal microbiota after oral probiotic therapy. However, one study from Reid et al, published in Immunology and Medical Microbiology Journal in 2001 showed that after oral intake of probiotic that contained Lactobacillus, the bacteria were recovered from vagina (1). Not only did they provide the experimental evidence that orally taken probiotic reaches the vagina, but they also showed that the oral intake of probiotics resolved vaginosis. Therefore, oral probiotic intake can help in relieving vaginosis and there is less harm while pregnant when one cannot take other medicines to kill the causative bacteria or yeast.

  1. Gregor Reid, Andrew W Bruce, Nicola Fraser, Christine Heinemann, Janice Owen, Beth Henning, Oral probiotics can resolve urogenital infections, FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology, Volume 30, Issue 1, February 2001, Pages 49–52

Have Any Questions About Pregnancy Yeast Infections?

Do you have any questions about yeast infections while pregnant or yeast infections in general? Ask your question here or contact us using the contact page of this website. It is also always a good idea to talk to your doctor as well.

Pregnancy Yeast Infection Testimonials

*As someone who was born with systemic candida and has been battling with chronic health issues my whole life, I have  definitely spent an immense deal of time trying different things, seeking help from various people/doctors and researching as much as I could in hopes of healing my gut and other related issues.  Although I eventually discovered my ideal diet that kept most of my stomach/candida symptoms at bay, I still had chronic symptoms that wouldn't go away and I knew that if I strayed even a bit from my strict regimen, that a massive candida flare up would take place. *

*I desire to heal the root cause as opposed to chase the symptoms. Doing yet another stool test, I had a Naturopathic/Integrative Doctor look over the results and tell me nothing other than that I had some candida and a bit of gut inflammation. A nutritionist who "specialized" in healing the gut also looked it over and didn't have much to say. With no traction from professionals, I began researching yet again for an answer as to why my candida wouldn't go away, even with my completely sugar free, carb free, low inflammatory, targeted diet and rigorous probiotic supplementation.*

*Eventually I stumbled upon the yeastinfectionadvisor website and immediately felt held amidst the intricacy and depth of knowledge that Dan had put together for anyone who needed it. The info he had validated my previous research over the past 6 years and also went even deeper, answering questions that I hadn't been able to find the answers to. His protocol for healing candida was so spot on and targeted. Being pregnant, I am unable to use antifungals right now, so I began using the probiotics, enzymes and macrophage supplements he recommends and sells on his site. I immediately noticed a difference. I experience some die off initially but then noticed a huge shift in my gut problems. My gas has completely gone away and my acne of 6 years has finally cleared. *

*Although my symptoms dramatically improved from following his protocol, I still had very subtle and mild yeast infections that I had to work constantly at to keep from becoming a full blown infection. And If I ate anything off my diet, things flared up. So at this point I decided to reach out to Dan. He responded very quickly and was so supportive in helping me find answers. Upon viewing my stool test he told me that I also had SIBO and bacterial imbalance and also specified which type of candida I was over run by. No one had ever been able to tell me that level of details. *

*It really goes to show that Dan knows how to read tests accurately, he has the passion and experience to see details that can make a huge difference and he also cares about helping people through healing from Candida and other co-infections. The info he provides is spot on and his support is sure to help many others like myself. *

*I know feel like a missing link to why I wasn't making progress has been highlighted and feel so hopeful that my healing journey will be swift and effective from here. Very grateful for you Dan and for the hope in knowing that I have the tools to ensure that when my son is born, he will have a healthy gut biome as well :] *

*Thank you!*



Hi Dan,

I've been on the systemic candida protocol for nearly a month now and can see a gradual improvement, in my digestion and vaginal yeast infection. I haven't been able to do the cleanse or use some of the anti-fungal herbs because I'm pregnant but I'm doing all I can and am satisfied to finally feel like I'm gaining a foothold against my yeast infection. I've been battling for at least two years now!

Early on, the Biofase caused burning in my stomach but when I eliminated it from the protocol, I could tell that my improvement suffered.  I reduced the dose and then have slowly brought it back up and no longer have any discomfort. Great stuff, I truly believe it is key to the treatment.


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