Why you should not be careless about hygiene during pregnancy

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Maintaining hygiene at any point of time is essential but maintaining hygiene during pregnancy is a part of pregnancy care. Any kind of infection—bacterial, fungal, or viral—during pregnancy can lead to discomfort and many a times complications in pregnancy. Here is our ready-to-use planner to keep yourself well protected from any infections (arising out of compromised hygiene) during pregnancy. Our Paediatrician, shares some tips here on how to maintain hygiene during pregnancy.

Vaginal hygiene:

With all the hormonal changes in the body, most women experience increased vaginal discharge that they worry may lead to health issues during pregnancy. Though this is perfectly normal, sometimes it can lead to wet underwear and increase the chances vaginal infection. Also, since the enlarged uterus is pressing down on the bladder, sometimes women may experience a leak of urine as well.

A simple solution to maintaining your personal hygiene is to wear pure cotton underpants. They can soak up the fluids. Avoid very tight jeans or pants to maintain ample air circulation between your clothing and skin. Change your undergarments at least twice a day if not more. During the last few months, if there frequent urine leak or vaginal discharge, use a panty liner. Ensure you change the panty liner every 2-3 hours to keep your vagina healthy during pregnancy.

Besides this, follow regular practices of feminine hygiene.  (1) wash yourself well with plain water. Do not use any unnecessary products on your vagina (including harsh soaps since they can disturb the pH balance of the private parts which is very essential for good vaginal health). (2) avoid usage of public toilets else ensure you sanitise the seat. In case of smell, colour or itching in the vaginal area, seek medical advice.

Some people recommend using lactic-acid or lactoserum-based vaginal washes to maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in the private parts, but it is not required. It is one of the myths associated with pregnancy. Experts believe otherwise. They say that douching during pregnancy (cleaning vagina aggressively with specialised products) can change the delicate chemical balance in the vagina and the vaginal flora. It can leave one more ‘exposed’ to infections.

Breasts hygiene:

Towards the beginning of the third trimester, or later, women may start experiencing some breasts leak. This is mostly colostrum or the initial milk. Change your bra and bra pads frequently since wetness can lead to itchiness and infections and affect your feminine hygiene. Wear only cotton bras devoid of any itchy laces or buttons etc. Wash all undergarments in slightly warm water after every change. In case you experience itchy, dry or sore nipples, ask your gynaecologist to suggest you a good nipple rash cream. 

Oral or Dental hygiene:

Increased levels of estrogen in the body during pregnancy can lead to inflammation of the gums, pain, and frequent bleeding of gums. Also, the elevated levels of progesterone cause an exaggerated response to the bacteria present in plaque, which can cause gingivitis. It can lead to painful, red, swollen gums. According to the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, the bacteria that cause inflammation in the gums can get into the bloodstream and reach the foetus in many cases leading to low-birth weight babies. So, visit your dentist during pregnancy for regular checkups to be at the top of your dental hygiene. And in case of any gum condition, do take it seriously. Brush, floss, and a rinse with an anti-microbial mouthwash is also suggested.

Skin and hair hygiene:

With your skin sweating more during pregnancy, due to the hormonal changes, keep your skin and scalp clean and healthy at all times. Use your regular shampoo, conditioner and soap etc unless and until you feel they are causing you some discomfort. Also, though there is no bottomline, it is advised that women stay away from chemicals such as hair colours or other hair straightening/chemical treatments. The concern is more around an allergy they may cause to an already sensitised skin. 

Also, avoid contact with other people down with fever or any rash, since during pregnancy  one is more susceptible to infections.

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