Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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Identify it: Pregnant or not, you'll experience the same symptoms, which can include itching, redness and soreness in the vaginal area, along with an odorless, white, cottage cheeselike discharge. Some women also have pain during intercourse and burning when they urinate.
Normal or not: Yes. Because of hormonal and other changes, yeast infections are very common during pregnancy. "In my first pregnancy, I had one almost the entire time," Eginoire says.
How to deal: Consult your doctor about prescription or over-the-counter vaginal creams or suppositories and, if deemed necessary, to rule out bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted disease (see below).
Identify it: Bacterial vaginosis, an infection caused by an imbalance in the bacteria normally found in the vagina, is sometimes asymptomatic, but it can produce a fishy-smelling discharge that is most noticeable after sex. Itching and/or burning may accompany it.
Normal or not: No. "Bacterial vaginosis starts out as a vaginal infection, but it can sometimes ascend into the uterus and cause premature rupture of the membranes and preterm birth," Sarvis says.
How to deal: See your doctor right away. Prescription medications can clear up symptoms without endangering the fetus and decrease the likelihood of preterm labor.
Identify it: Chlamydia may produce no discharge or one that is slightly odorous; the discharge that's sometimes a symptom of gonorrhea can be yellowish; and that caused by trichomoniasis ("trich") can be a foamy yellow-greenish and often associated with itching. All three infections can cause painful intercourse or urination.
Normal or not: No. Having a sexually transmitted disease during pregnancy can lead to preterm labor and a uterine infection after delivery. Some organisms that cause STDs can pass through the placenta and affect the fetus; others can be transmitted to the baby during delivery.
How to deal: Get tested. STDs can be safely treated with antibiotics during pregnancy.
* Not her real name