Medically reviewed by Dr Kristy June Dinampo.
During pregnancy your body goes through all manner of changes. It is growing a new human being after all.
Because of that it’s highly likely you will experience some symptoms which are different or unexpected. One of which could be vaginal itching.
Vaginal itching during pregnancy is much more common than you might think and can be due to a variety of different reasons.
The good news?
None of them are dangerous but they will need checking out by your doctor in case you need treatment.
Causes of Vaginal Itching During Pregnancy
The itching you might experience is down to the skin around your vagina, and just inside become irritated and perhaps even swollen. This can be caused by hormonal changes, an infection or it could be due to something as simple as the clothing you’re wearing or the washing powder you use.
1. Increased Vaginal Discharge
During pregnancy, you will probably have experienced an increase in vaginal discharge and any area which is damp can easily become irritated.
This is one of the most common causes for vaginal itching in pregnancy and isn’t anything to be concerned about.
It can be annoying and uncomfortable but it can also be managed and reduced.
More on that a little later!
2. An Allergy
If you have recently changed your washing detergent or any washing products you regularly use, the itching could be down an allergic reaction.
Your skin in that area could also have become more sensitive due to your pregnancy, so even detergents that you’re used to can cause problems.
If you suspect that’s case, switch to an unscented or hypoallergenic detergent and the itching and inflammation should clear up pretty quickly.
3. Vaginal Infections
Another possible cause for vaginal itching during pregnancy could be something a little more troublesome, and require treatment to clear it up.
The most common vaginal infections are yeast infections (thrush), bacterial vaginosis (BV) and trichomoniasis.
These are all infections which will require a simple course of treatment to clear up so make sure you speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you suspect an infection.
Yeast infections are very common in pregnancy. If you have ever experienced one before you will know how intense the itching can be but you will also know how easy it can be to treat too.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include a lot of thick, white discharge that may look like cottage cheese.
BV discharge is watery, grey and will have a fishy smell.
Trichomoniasis signs include clear, white or greenish discharge with a fishy smell.
4. HPV and Herpes
Other possible causes of vaginal itching are a little more worrisome and include herpes and HPV viruses.
If you are at all concerned that your itching problem could be due to one of these viruses, have a chat with your midwife or doctor who will be able to arrange the appropriate tests and treatments.
Should You Visit Your Doctor With Vaginal Itching?
It’s a good idea to get anything checked out if you’re concerned or when the itching doesn’t go away with home remedies.
For that reason, you should visit your doctor in the following circumstances:
• The itching and/or swelling doesn’t reduce or go away after trying home methods
• If you experience any discharge which is abnormal for you at the same time as the itching
• If you notice any lumps, bumps, ulcers, or tiny cuts on the vulval area, alongside the itching
In these cases it is likely that you need a course of treatment. Your doctor will know which medications are safe for pregnancy and be able to prescribe the correct ones.
Useful Home Treatments For Vaginal Itching
To help treat and prevent vaginal itching at home you can try the following remedies.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Avoid tight fitting jeans and leggings – allow your vagina to breathe!
- Always wear clean cotton underwear.
- Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics as these make your vagina hot and sweaty.
- Use an unscented vaginal wash product to keep the area clean.
- Sleep without underwear.
- If you wear a pantyliner, make sure you change it every two hours or so and go for unscented brands
- Try applying natural unsweetened yogurt, to ensure a natural balance of bacteria within your vagina, especially if you have been given antibiotics for a yeast infection. Eating it helps too.
- Cut right down on the amount of sugar you consume. Sugar is the perfect food for yeast and eating lots of it can promote bacterial overgrowth.
- Stick to bathing and washing products which are unscented, including bubble bath, shower gel, soap, etc
- Try mixing half a cup of apple cider vinegar into your bath water and have a soak. Make sure you arrange yourself so that the water can effectively get to your vagina.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Try a cold compress on the area.
- Avoid itching! Difficult, we know, but it will only make the problem worse and even more itchy than before
These natural at home methods can help to relieve the itching and redness whilst taking the swelling down and preventing future problems.
Remember to refrain from scratching as much as you can.One scratch leads to another, which leads to another, and another, and before you know it, your lady parts feel like a burning inferno.
If you’re at all worried about your vaginal itching head to see your midwife or doctor. They will be able to put your mind at rest and if need be prescribe you a course of treatment to clear the problem up.
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