Health

6 ways you can maintain intimate hygiene during pregnancy

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Follow these intimate hygiene tips when you’re expecting.

Pregnancy can be one of those times when you are extra cautious of what you eat and do for your little one’s growth. There are a number of rules and oodles of advice you get from relatives and friends on this subject. Though, very few people advise you about maintaining your intimate hygiene and health during this crucial time.

Of all the relationships you’ve had in life, the one with your vagina would perhaps count among the most demanding one. And pregnancy can double your concerns about what’s happening on the inside and outside of your lady bits.

Being pregnant can be one of the greatest joys in your life and that cute baby bump may fill you with hopes and dreams. But the baby bump can also hamper your view down there. Therefore, it is imperative that you maintain good  intimate hygiene when pregnant.

Dr Gayathri BN, Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Milann Fertility and Birthing hospital, JP Nagar, Bengaluru, spoke to HealthShots about intimate health issues you may experience in your pregnancy.

“Self-care is an important part of the life cycle, but it comes into the spotlight during pregnancy because of the invaluable hormonal changes that a woman’s body undergoes. An important aspect of maintaining hygiene is having a daily bath followed by applying moisturiser to minimise stretch marks, “says Dr Gayathri BN

Hygiene problems you may face while pregnant

Among problems like a terrible rash down there, an unbearable itch, a foul smell, weird discharge, lumps and bumps in the intimate area, there are a gazillion other problems that can give you the hardest time if not dealt with.

Dr Gayathri BN adds, “During the process of pregnancy, women may experience increased risk of vaginal infections mainly because of decreased immunity and changes in vaginal PH.”

pregnancy and UTI
Sleepless nights during pregnancy can make the situation a little tricky. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Pregnancy can take a toll on your body, and you must take good care of your intimate health both before, during and after pregnancy. Your body may go through various hormonal changes while you’re pregnant. These hormonal changes may lead to excessive sweating, vaginal discharge, and lack of lubrication too. Dr Gayathri BN suggests some tips to stay feeling clean and fresh during your pregnancy

Tips to keep your intimate hygiene in check during pregnancy:

1. Wear pure cotton panties

Keep your lacy panties and thongs at the back of your cupboard and stick to cotton undergarments while you’re pregnant. Cotton underwear can absorb sweat easily and are breathable for your skin. Meanwhile, wearing synthetic underwear can turn into a breeding ground for bacteria. It may cause skin irritation and various infections around the private area.

vaginal itching
There are many benefits of wearing a cotton underwear! Try it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Avoid wearing tight clothes

You may have all the urge to flaunt your baby bump in a tight bodycon skirt or mom jeans. But, saying yes to breathable maternity clothes is a good idea. Tight-fitting garments and lacey inners can cause irritation along the skin folds of your private parts. This may lead to increased chances of vulvovaginal infections and a painful condition called vulvodynia.

3. Avoid wearing a shapewear

Shapewears may promise comfort and support, but do they? Do not fall for these claims while you’re pregnant. Wearing it may compress your body and put extra pressure on your bladder and uterus. It may lead to nerve compression which may need you to go for bathroom breaks often. In the worst-case scenario, it can lead to long-lasting pelvic and lower limb and back pain.

4. Keep you vagina clean and dry

DR Gayathri BN says, “Though vagina doesn’t need any maintenance as it is a self-cleaning organ, washing it with plain cold water will suffice. If recommended by an expert, one may use an intimate wash. Do not buy any OTC lactic acid wash on your own as this may further disrupt your vaginal flora and cause a pH imbalance. Remember to dry the private area by patting it with a clean towel as moisture may cause fungal and bacterial growth down there.

facts about vagina
Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Use a panty liner during your final trimester

When you hit the final months of your pregnancy, your uterus enlarges due to the baby’s growth. This may give rise to episodes of urine leaks. In this case, try to wear a panty liner which you can change every 2-3 hours without the uncomfortable feeling.

6. Trim your pubic hair

It is advised to trim your pubic hair over waxing or epilating them since your intimate area may be feeling sensitive already. This cuts down all the chances of injury and allergic reactions.

The last word

“My advice to all expectant mothers is to be completely aware of every detail in your body, including your diet, lifestyle, and sleep.Since this is a very crucial stage for developing the baby, the mother should take all the necessary precautions for maintaining intimate health to avoid any kind of complications for the mother or child.” says Dr Gayathri BN.

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