It’s the month of February – it’s the month of International Prenatal Infection Prevention. It’s the occasion that the whole world observes to promote awareness of infections passed on from mother to the baby.
Prenatal infections can include both, bacterial and virus infections that can be transmitted from the mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery.
Due to the serious consequences for mother and baby, prenatal infection prevention is critical for the health of the mother and the baby and ensure that both of them survive and thrive well.
In this blog post, we’ll educate you about common prenatal infections and various ways by which you can prevent them.
Most common Prenatal Infections
Here are a few common Prenatal infections that you must know about.
1. Cytomegalovirus (CMV): CMV can be transmitted through body fluids – saliva, blood, urine, semen, and vaginal secretions.
Young children and babies are more likely to shed CMV in their saliva and urine than older children and adults. Women can reduce their chances of getting CMV by lowering contact with urine and saliva from babies and young children.
2. Group B Strep (GBS): If mothers pass on GBS bacteria to their babies during delivery, they can get very ill and even die.
Hence, if you are pregnant, consult your doctor about getting a GBS test. Most babies born to women suffering from GBS won’t need treatment if their mothers had received medications (antibiotics) during labor.
3. Zika Virus: Infection caused by Zika Virus can result in a birth defect known as microcephaly. This virus can be transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy.
Zika mainly spreads via infected Aedes mosquitoes, or through intercourse with someone infected from Zika.
4. Listeriosis: It’s a rare but serious infection. It’s caused by consuming food contaminated by a bacteria known as Listeria. A pregnant woman is more likely to get infected from Listeriosis than other people.
Immunization and Pregnancies
Proper vaccinations during various stages of pregnancy can be productive for both woman and the baby.
1. Maternal immunization: Maternal immunization offers pregnant women greater protection against prenatal infections.
This prompts higher antibodies levels that can be passed on the foetus and secure the newborn in his/her initial stages of life.
2. Before pregnancy: A woman needs to test for undiagnosed diseases and stay up-to-date on all the necessary vaccines.
However, a woman needs to discuss the necessary vaccinations with her doctor before conception.
3. During pregnancy: A woman can receive a (flu) influenza vaccine during her pregnancy. However, she must consult her healthcare provider beforehand.
4. After pregnancy: Post-pregnancy vaccination is extremely helpful for the mother and the baby. Vaccinations will guard the mother against getting a vaccine-preventable disease and will reduce its exposure to the baby.
Ways to Prevent Prenatal Infections Before and During Pregnancy
Along with vaccinations, there are various simple, yet effective practices women can follow to avoid prenatal infections before and during pregnancy.
Let’s have a look at them.
1. Wash your hands: Washing your hands properly with soap and water before/after eating, using the washroom, handling garbage, cleaning a pet, cleaning a baby, and so on. Pay special attention to space between fingers, fingernails and wrist.
2. Practice proper hygiene: Pregnant women can get easily infected due to in-person contact. Hygiene practices such as not sharing utensils, water, food, washing your hands frequently, and so on can reduce your exposure to prenatal illnesses.
3. Check on STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases): You must get yourself tested to rule out the possibility of HIV and hepatitis B and protect yourself from these ailments.
You must also protect yourself from these diseases. Just because you may not get infected doesn’t mean they won’t pass to your child.
4. Take medications prescribed by your doctor: During your pregnancy, your healthcare provider may recommend you a prenatal vitamin pill that contains folic acid, calcium, iron, and other minerals.
It would be helpful to tell your doctor whether you are consuming any other medications. This includes herbal or homemade remedies as well.
5. Limit unpasteurized (raw) milk & foods: Unpasteurized products might include harmful bacteria. Hence, during pregnancy, try to avoid or reduce the intake of soft cheese like brie, feta, and queso fresco unless they are labelled as pasteurized.
We hope that this article will assist mothers to sort out their concerns on prenatal infections.
We highly recommend you schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. One must get check-up at regular intervals at least once in each trimester.
As partners in the fight against prenatal infections, we at Neotia Getwel Healthcare Center understand that preventing prenatal illnesses require a collaborative effort between healthcare providers and mothers at every level.
Our specialized doctors are available to help mom and baby 24*7. To book your appointment, click here.
Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent & typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.