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Home / Thrush / Thrush during pregnancy

Thrush during pregnancy

How to treat thrush in pregnancy and which treatments are safe to use

Thrush (vaginal thrush especially) is a very common health condition that 75% Trusted source National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Government Source Biomedical Research and Literature Go to source of women will experience in their lifetime.

A woman holding her hand across her crotch

Also known as a yeast infection, thrush is caused by a fungus called the Candida fungus, which lives on the skin and inside the body.

When the healthy bacteria in your body become off-balance, too much of the fungus can grow. This leads to thrush symptoms such as vaginal soreness, itching, and abnormal discharge.

Thrush can also occur in the mouth and throat, or around the penis and foreskin in males.

What causes thrush during pregnancy?

Women are more likely to experience thrush in pregnancy, especially during their third trimester (the last 3 months of pregnancy).

According to a study, as many as 40% Trusted source British Journal of Midwifery Peer-reviewed Journals Midwifery Research and Practice Go to source of women may struggle with thrush while they are pregnant.

A pregnant woman’s belly

This is down to the hormonal changes that occur within the body, such as the increasing levels of the hormone oestrogen.

Don’t be alarmed if you get thrush symptoms during your pregnancy or if you are trying to conceive. Yeast infections or thrush:

  • will not cause harm to your unborn baby
  • only have a 2% chance of being passed on to your child
  • cannot stop you from getting pregnant

Can you prevent getting thrush during pregnancy?

If you are someone who gets recurring thrush, or just want to prevent it during your pregnancy, the following steps may lower your chances of getting an infection:

  • wear breathable underwear made of natural materials such as cotton or silk
  • change out of damp swimwear as soon as possible after swimming
  • if you use pads for vaginal discharge, change them frequently and avoid perfumed pads
  • properly dry yourself after showering or bathing
  • don’t use bath bombs, perfumed lotions or soaps (especially near your vagina and vulva)
  • change your underwear daily and wash them in hot water
Sanitary pads on a pink background with a pink flower

What are the symptoms of thrush in pregnancy?

Thrush in pregnant women will present itself in the same way as in women who aren’t pregnant.

As you are more likely to get thrush in pregnancy, it is important to recognise your symptoms so you can get diagnosed quickly by a healthcare professional.

The main symptoms include:

  • itching and soreness around the vagina and vulva
  • an unusual discharge that is thick and white in colour (often resembling cottage cheese)
  • painful sex and/or urination
  • red skin, with small cuts/cracks (known as fissures) on the vulva and in the vagina

How can you treat thrush during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to get treatment from a doctor rather than buying over-the-counter medication.

This way, a medical professional can make sure that the medicine you take is safe for you and your baby.

If you want to treat thrush in pregnancy, it is most likely that you will be prescribed an antifungal cream or a pessary (a tablet that you insert into the vagina).

It is not recommended to take any anti-thrush medication that comes in the form of an oral tablet.

Which treatments are safe?

If you are pregnant, not all medicines for thrush are safe. Before taking any anti-thrush treatments, talk to your doctor.

Below is a table of different thrush treatments and whether they are safe to take during pregnancy:

Treatment Is it safe during pregnancy? Is it safe while breastfeeding?
Miconazole (Gyno-Daktarin)
Fluconazole (Diflucan)
Clotrimazole (Canesten)
Itraconazole (Sporanox)
Econazole (Gyno-Pevaryl)

The safest way to treat thrush when pregnant or breastfeeding is with Clotrimazole. This medicine has the brand name Canesten.

A woman holding a Canesten vaginal tablet pack in a pharmacy

Clotrimazole is a medicine that comes in two forms: a cream or a pessary. A pessary is a small tablet that you put inside your vagina. This medicine should be applied directly to the affected area.

Pregnant women need to take Clotrimazole for slightly longer than usual. It should take around 7 days to cure your yeast infection.

When pregnant, do not take any oral medicines for thrush. For example, Fluconazole has been linked Trusted source The BMJ Peer-reviewed Journals Medical Research Go to source with causing birth defects if taken in high doses during the first three months of pregnancy.

Certain medications can pass into your breastmilk which is why they might not be suitable to take if you are breastfeeding.

Natural treatments for thrush in pregnancy

If you want to avoid taking medicinal treatment for thrush, there are some natural ways that can offer you relief:

Please note: Always speak to your doctor before using any natural remedies or supplements when you are pregnant, as not all are safe to take.

Tea tree creams

Creams containing tea tree can help soothe the itching of vaginal thrush. Try applying it to the outside of the vagina - it isn’t safe to apply this type of cream internally.

Tea tree Trusted source PubMed Government Source Database of Biomedical Research Go to source is a natural essential oil that can also fight off the candida fungus.


Probiotic pessaries can be inserted into the vagina to help restore the good bacteria. They are a natural treatment containing the live bacteria that normally live in the body.

You can also drink probiotic drinks such as kefir. This will make it harder for the Candida fungus to thrive in the gut and vagina.


Marigold is a plant that helps the skin to heal and contains a natural antiseptic. You can try drinking marigold tea or using a marigold pessary.

Whilst marigold hasn’t been proven to treat thrush, its antiseptic qualities can offer you some relief.

Orange and yellow marigold flowers

You can also use mouthwashes containing marigold for oral thrush during pregnancy.

Main takeaways

Your chances of getting thrush increase during pregnancy. However, it isn’t something to worry about and won’t have any impact on your baby.

If you recognise thrush symptoms, seek advice from your doctor or an online health provider. They can prescribe you a safe antifungal cream or pessary that will fight the infection.

Alternatively, you can try using natural treatments if you want to avoid prescription medicines during pregnancy.

Want to find out more about thrush?

Click here

Medically reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 25-04-2024

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Further reading

Recurring thrush: causes and treatment

Recurring thrush: causes and treatment

Reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho
How does thrush affect men and women differently?

How does thrush affect men and women differently?

Reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho
Male thrush: the symptoms to look out for

Male thrush: the symptoms to look out for

Reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho
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