Preventing infection is especially important in pregnancy. Infections can be worse in pregnant women and possibly be passed to their unborn babies. Infections can be passed from people, animals, mosquitoes, and certain foods.
Get up to date on all your vaccinations prior to getting pregnant. Also make sure your family is up to date on their vaccinations. The flu vaccination is recommended and safe during pregnancy. Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccination (TDaP) is recommended between 27-36 weeks of pregnancy, even if received the vaccination before pregnancy. Pertussis is also known as “whopping cough” and can make newborn babies very sick.
Reduce your chance of getting infections by practicing good hand hygiene. Wash your hands frequently. Avoiding sharing food or drinks with others, especially with young children. Avoid getting mosquito bites by using bug spray, wearing long sleeves, and travel to known Zika infected areas. Use a condom if you have any chance of contracting a sexually transmitted infection or if your partner has traveled to a Zika infected area. Avoiding touching rodents and their feces. Avoid cleaning litter boxes, but if you must, use gloves and wash your hands afterwards. Minimize close contact with an ill person, gloves and face masks can help.
Infections that can possibly cause problems in pregnancy:
- Parvovirus, also called “fifth disease” – Parvovirus is spread from person to person. It can cause a rash on the face, chest, back, arms, and legs. It can also cause joint pain and body aches.
- Cytomegalovirus, also called “CMV” – CMV can be spread by sex and through saliva, urine, and other body fluids. It can cause a fever, sore throat, or body aches.
- Toxoplasmosis – People can get toxoplasmosis from eating uncooked meat or by touching cat waste when cleaning a cat’s litter box. Toxoplasmosis does not usually cause symptoms in adults.
- Listeria – Listeria can cause a fever, chills, and back pain. People can get it from eating spoiled food. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if food is spoiled. We recommend that pregnant women avoid certain foods, such as raw milk, soft cheeses, hot dogs, and deli meats. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them. Cook meats and eggs until well done.
- Zika virus – People can get Zika from a mosquito bite in some parts of the world. It’s also possible to get Zika through unprotected sex with someone who has the virus. Most people with Zika have no symptoms, or only mild symptoms. Symptoms can include fever, rash, joint pain, and headache.
-Yeni Yim, CNM