This is so incredibly frightening! Taking medication when you're pregnant can be a gamble, but there are some over-the-counter medications that are considered safe during pregnancy. Because, like it or not, many women need medication during pregnancy, either to manage chronic conditions or to a sudden illness. It can be especially concerning considering some conditions are more likely to develop during pregnancy, like yeast infections. Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to develop a yeast infection than women who aren't pregnant, and yeast infections are one of those things that you want to treat as quickly as possible. They can cause severe discomfort, and during pregnancy, that can be even worse. Most doctors will recommend topical treatments first, but some may prescribe a common medication called fluconazole.
However, a recent study out of Canada shows that pregnant women who take fluconazole are more likely to have a miscarriage or give birth to a baby with heart or skeletal defects.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), found that there is a clear link between the antifungal medication fluconazole and miscarriage or birth defect risk. Researchers studied 441,949 pregnancies in Quebec between 1998 and 2015. They discovered that women who took approximately 150 milligrams of fluconazole were twice as likely suffer a miscarriage.
Taking a higher dose increased that risk to three times more likely. Furthermore, women who took higher doses (over 150 milligrams) were 81% more likely to deliver a baby with heart or skeletal defects. The study is limited, because researchers didn't have access to data that could negatively affect pregnancy outcomes, like whether or not the mother smoked, used drugs, or took enough folic acid. But still, the results are concerning, to say the least.
If you're pregnant and have a yeast infection, the recommended course of treatment is an over-the-counter topical treatment, such as clotrimazole or miconazole. Both of these can be found in cream and vaginal suppository form, and are effective at clearing up yeast infections. They've also been found to be safe to use during pregnancy, and can be found at pretty much any drugstore without a prescription.