Pregnancy can be a time of change for a woman’s body and mind. For example, when thinking about pregnancy, the first thing that is usually imagined is the growth of the belly. However, there are other less visible and more subtle changes that are of great importance, since they can affect the health of the pregnant woman and her baby. Some of these changes occur in the intimate area, so to avoid problems and complications it is necessary to take good care of the genital area.
Many women wonder ” how does pregnancy affect my intimate health?”. We discover it in the following article, in which you will be able to learn about some of the most important changes that can affect your intimate health during this very special stage.
How does pregnancy affect my intimate health?
Next we are going to review the most significant changes that can affect your vaginal health during pregnancy. It is important to know what is happening in your body to know what is normal and thus be able to anticipate possible complications.
Increased vaginal discharge
One of the most notable changes that you will experience during your pregnancy is the considerable increase in vaginal discharge. It is related to the increase in estrogen and progesterone levels characteristic of these months. The discharge you will find during pregnancy is usually thin, whitish in color and milky in appearance, but it may become thicker as the due date approaches. It gives off a mild odor, although more perceptible than pre-pregnancy vaginal discharge.
Increased risk of contracting infections
While increased discharge is normal, it can sometimes indicate a vaginal infection, which also becomes more common during pregnancy. The explanation is in the typical hormonal changes of this period. Because they change the vaginal pH balance, the risk of contracting infections increases. Thus, the most common vaginal infections during pregnancy are:
- Fungal infections: during pregnancy, vaginal secretions contain more sugars, which facilitates the proliferation of some fungi, such as candida. Candidiasis can manifest with genital itching, a discharge that looks like cottage cheese, and vaginal burning. See your doctor if you feel any of these discomforts, since apart from suffering from the problem, you can also transmit the infection to the baby during childbirth.
- Bacterial vaginosis: It is the most common vaginal infection during pregnancy. It is related to the imbalance that occurs in the vaginal flora between the bacteria that are considered beneficial and those that can be pathogenic. It is important to put yourself in the hands of the doctor, since the consequences of this disease include premature delivery, low birth weight or even miscarriage. Its symptoms are unpleasant-smelling vaginal discharge, burning when urinating, and slight itching in the genital area.
Increased vaginal swelling
During pregnancy, blood flow increases significantly, which, together with increased pressure in the genital area, leads to swollen labia. It is also possible that, due to this situation, you perceive an increase in sexual desire and excitement. This is one of the changes in intimate health caused by pregnancy that most surprises some women. In addition, this more abundant blood flow and the action of hormones tend to darken the skin of the vulva, the nipples and, in general, the entire genital area, which will acquire a darker and even bluish tone that will disappear after the Birth. Keep in mind that sometimes vaginal inflammation indicates an infection. Thus, if in your case it is accompanied by redness, burning or itching, the recommendation is to see a doctor.
Like varicose veins that form in the legs, the increase in blood volume and the difficulty of venous return can lead to the appearance of varicose veins in the vulvar area, which can be very annoying. To alleviate them, it is recommended to apply cold compresses or cold water from the shower, raise the hips when lying down, massage from the ankles to the hips or use a specific compression garment for this problem and for pregnancy. It is normal for vulvar varicose veins to disappear after delivery.
Can I have sex during pregnancy?
The answer is yes, of course, you can have sexual intercourse throughout your pregnancy , as long as your gynecologist or midwife has not advised against it due to a specific health problem. Of course, keep in mind that you will have to adapt the positions to be comfortable and that you may notice changes in your sexual desire. For some women it increases, while for others it decreases. In any case, it is recommended to avoid risks and take precautions, such as condom use. This will reduce the chance of contracting a sexually transmitted infection or STD, which could result in serious health problems for you and your baby.