Expectant mothers do everything in their capacity to prevent themselves, and their fetus from catching infections. Vaccinations, proper hygiene while cooking and avoiding outside food are some simple ways to prevent catching these infections. Sometimes, despite take all the possible precautions and steps, certain infections that can cause pregnancy problems.
Here are 5 common infections that can cause pregnancy problems when left untreated:
- Chicken Pox
Although chicken pox is not dangerous by itself, it can be harmful for a pregnant woman. If the mother has never been exposed to it and has never been vaccinated, chicken pox can possibly affect the fetus. This itchy and contagious disease can put the baby at risk, if it occurs during the first or second trimester and if the mother herself is not immune to it. It may cause Congenital Varicella Syndrome in the baby and lead to birth defects such as skin scarring, malformed limbs, microcephaly and other neurological problems.
- Mosquito-borne Infection
Dengue, malaria, chikungunya and other mosquito-borne infections have symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, nausea and joint pain. In rare cases, these infections can cause miscarriage. Babies can catch these infections if the mother has fever or any other symptoms up to four days before delivery, or one day afterwards. Babies exposed to infections can suffer from fever, difficulty in feeding, skin problems, and seizures. In such cases, the baby should be monitored by doctors for about a week.
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as chlamydia are often easily treated with a round of antibiotics. Many pregnant women feel ashamed going to a doctor for a suspected STI, but it is important to get help during pregnancy. Any STI could adversely impact the baby during pregnancy or even during birth. There is an increased risk of premature birth, underweight baby, or even a miscarriage. Therefore, every pregnant woman should get herself checked out if she suspects an STI.
- Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial Vaginosis is caused due to an imbalance in normal bacteria levels in a woman’s genital area. About 10-30% of all women will experience this during pregnancy. Although not particularly risky, there is some evidence to indicate that bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth or having an underweight baby. It may also lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. It is important for pregnant women to get themselves treated immediately in order to avoid any possible complications.
- Food Borne Illnesses
Since pregnant woman have a compromised immune system, they are more susceptible to food borne illnesses such as listeriosis. This can lead to blood infection, meningitis, and other potentially life-threatening illnesses. Although rare, most of the detected cases are among pregnant women. Listeria can infect the placenta, amniotic fluid, baby, or all three, and lead to stillbirth or miscarriage. In such a case, baby is more likely to be born prematurely.
There are many other infections that can cause problems during pregnancy. Apart from the above, pregnant women should be watchful against infections such as herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, Group B strep, HIV, and toxoplasmosis etc. Taking small steps such as getting recommended prenatal tests, washing hands or practicing safe sex can help prevent infections.
If you need to know more about infections, our doctors at KIMS Cuddles are always there to answer your queries.
**Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.