Q: I've been battling chronic yeast infections for the past two years. Is it safe for me to try to conceive?
A: While inconvenient and uncomfortable, yeast infections--which are caused by an overgrowth of a fungal organism normally found in small numbers in the vagina--do not affect fertility or your ability to have a safe pregnancy and delivery. If you continue having such infections once you're pregnant, your doctor will likely recommend an anti-fungal agent that's inserted into the vagina; the medication is not absorbed into the bloodstream and is therefore safe for expecting moms. Also avoid douching, and wear cotton underwear.
It's important that you see your obstetrician if you suspect you have a yeast infection while pregnant. Similar symptoms may be caused by bacterial organisms associated with preterm labor, and your doctor may want to take a vaginal culture to rule out the presence of these organisms. In addition, since recurring yeast infections can be associated with high blood sugar, you may need to be tested for diabetes. Also alert your doctor to any medications you may be using, as some women are prone to an overgrowth of yeast when taking certain antibiotics.