Pregnancy is a moment that every woman looks forward to. Physiological restructuring, which occurs throughout the body, inevitably affects all organs and systems, affects the perception of the surrounding reality. One of the most common complaints that women make in the «position» is a feeling of swelling, swelling during pregnancy in the vagina. Edema affects the self-awareness of a pregnant woman, brings some discomfort to married life. MedAboutMe talks about the causes of discomfort, as well as preventive measures.

Why does swelling occur during pregnancy in the vagina?

Experts identify many reasons that can lead to vaginal edema. This change — edema — can be both physiological and pathological.

Physiological edema

Physiological edema

When pregnancy comes, a woman’s life changes dramatically. During the long months of gestation until the baby is born, the vagina will be swollen. This change is inevitable. However, it is necessary to understand the causes of its swelling in order to exclude the infectious nature of the lesion.

  • Hormonal changes

During pregnancy, the hormonal background of a woman changes. Progesterone leads to fluid retention in the body, as a result of which the pregnant woman feels fluid retention in the body. Clinical manifestations can be determined visually — traces of socks remain on the legs, and prints from underwear may remain in the crotch area.

  • Restructuring of the cardiovascular system

From the first weeks of gestation, the volume of blood circulating in the body begins to increase steadily, the entire cardiovascular system is rebuilt for the needs of the baby. New branches of vessels provide the child’s needs for nutrients, trace elements and oxygen.

As the baby grows and develops, the uterus increases in size. By the end of the second — the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy, it compresses the vessels of the small pelvis and lower extremities, the outflow of blood from them worsens. Stagnation of blood leads to swelling of the tissues of the vagina.

  • Prolonged intercourse

Sexual intercourse (coitus) for a long time or in the absence of lubricants can lead to the development of vaginal edema. This mechanism is explained by a decrease in the production of natural lubrication during pregnancy.

Pathological edema

The occurrence of pathological edema is most often associated with non-compliance with sanitary and hygienic standards, the penetration of a bacterial or viral agent into the vaginal mucosa.

  • Non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene

During pregnancy, the immune system undergoes a number of changes, becoming more “fragile”, sensitive to bacteria and viruses. As you know, conditionally pathogenic microorganisms inhabit the human body, and are activated only when the defense mechanism fails. Pregnancy is a risk factor for the activation of opportunistic pathogens. In order to avoid the development of the inflammatory process, it is recommended to observe a set of hygienic measures. Showering should be at least twice a day using a special hygienic soap. The skin of the perineum and labia is washed from front to back. It is this direction that minimizes the entry of intestinal bacteria from the area that is located around the anus. The external genitalia are wiped with an individual towel in the same direction.

  • allergic reactions

The use of hygiene products of dubious quality increases the likelihood of developing an allergic reaction: swelling of the vagina and external genitalia, itching and redness. Experts advise women in the «position» to purchase certified hypoallergenic products in the city’s pharmacies.

  • Doubtful sexual contacts

Contact with different partners during pregnancy increases the risk of sexually transmitted infections. Although the use of barrier methods of contraception (male condom) reduces the chance of infection, the most reliable way is to make love with one permanent partner you trust.

Clinical manifestations of vaginal edema

Edema during pregnancy in the vagina is manifested by a variety of clinical symptoms.

  • Vaginal swelling
  • Symptoms of inflammation: redness, discomfort in the perineum
  • Pain during intercourse
  • When bacterial or viral inflammation is attached, specific discharge from the genital tract and an unusual smell from the vagina may appear.
  • Pain and burning when urinating

Adverse consequences of edema for a child

Physiological edema of the vagina due to changes in hormonal levels does not have an intrauterine effect on the fetus, in contrast to pathological edema during pregnancy. So, many infectious agents have a negative impact on the growth and development of the baby. Congenital malformations, premature birth are just some of the possible complications of infection.

Treatment during pregnancy

Treatment during pregnancy is aimed at identifying the cause of discomfort, swelling in the vagina. If the first clinical manifestations occur, you should immediately consult a doctor for laboratory and instrumental examination methods, gynecological examination. Accurate clinical diagnosis allows timely selection of etiopathogenetic and symptomatic treatment. However, the most useful thing that a pregnant woman can do for herself is to minimize the risks of developing edema by following daily hygiene standards and maintaining contact with one regular partner.

When choosing clothes, in particular, underwear, experts recommend giving preference to a free cut. This recommendation is aimed at creating comfort and preventing rubbing in a pregnant woman.

Obstetrics / Ed. Savelieva G.M. 2000

Management of pregnancy and childbirth in multiple pregnancies / Krasnopolsky V.I., Novikova S.V., Tsivtsivadze E.B., Zharova A.A. // Almanac of Clinical Medicine 2015 #37