10 Tips For Preventing Infections Before and During Pregnancy

Your body, during pregnancy, is more susceptible to infectious disease threats. The placental immune response impacts the outcome of it. Due to this, you’ll not just undergo various hormonal, physical, and emotional upheavals, but your body will be open to some of the most common prenatal infections – Zika virus, vaginal yeast infection, bacterial, and so on. Such infections may not positively impact your pregnancy or your unborn baby.

The maternal immune system must strike a proper balance to carry on the pregnancy healthily and to keep the foetus safe, with some precautions.

So, in this prenatal infection prevention month, here are the prenatal care tips to keep the pregnancy healthy and the unborn baby safe:

Be Hygienic

You need to wash your hands diligently, carefully, and regularly with soap and running water after visiting the bathroom, after preparing the food and eating it, or after blowing the nose. You can also use alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel to keep your hands clean. 

Cook the Meat Till it is Well Done

While cooking your favourite meat, the juices should be clear, and there should not be anything pink inside it. While you can cook the chicken at 165° F (74°C), you can cook the beef and pork at 145° F (63°C). You can’t even have processed meat, as it may contain Listeria monocytogenes – the harmful bacteria. 

Stay Away From Unpasteurised (raw) Milk and Milk Products

Unless the milk and milk products, such as soft cheese (feta and brie) and yogurt, have a pasteurised label on them, avoid raw milk. Raw milk and milk products have harmful bacteria (Listeria) in them. The presence of listeria can cause illness in the baby-to-be or cause a miscarriage.   

Avoid Touching or Changing Dirty Cat Litter

If you have pets like dogs or cats, try not to touch them during your pregnancy. Having said that, if you must change the cat litter, don’t forget to wear your gloves while doing so and wash your hands once you’re done. Cats play an essential role in spreading toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis infection, during pregnancy, passes down to the developing baby inside your womb and can develop birth defects like blindness, eye disorder, mental disability, and so on. 

Keep Rodent Droppings and Wild Rodents Away

You can get rid of the pests with the help of professional pest control experts. However, if you have rodents like guinea pigs or hamsters, ensure they get looked after by someone. They carry rodent-borne viral infectious also known as lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). This infection is associated with mental retardation and physical disabilities in the baby, after their birth. 

Get Yourself Tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

The experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend screening for STDs like HIV, HPV, Chlamydia, etc, at the early stage of your pregnancy, as contracting such infections can be harmful to the baby developing inside you. Early membrane rupture, gestational bleeding, premature labour, and preterm delivery are some of the risks linked with these prenatal infections. To prevent you from such risks, your healthcare practitioner may tell you to undergo an emergency C-section. Besides, you might have to take medicines in consultation with your healthcare practitioner. Getting diagnosed and treated at the right time can also save you from giving birth to low-birth-weight babies and other birth defects in the babies.

Reduce Your Contact With Saliva and Urine From Another Child or Young Children in Your House

If you have another child or young children in your house, you may come in close contact with them while sharing food, or utensils. The saliva, as well as urine, have cytomegalovirus (CMV) virus in high amounts. If you contract this viral infection, during your pregnancy, you can pass it down to your little one inside you, and if they get infected with long-term health problems after birth.  

Ask About Group B Strep Bacterial Infection Your Healthcare Practitioner

This is neither an STI nor does it cause any serious illness. 1 in 4 of you, during your pregnancy, can suffer from this infection, but you will hardly feel sick. The risk of GBS infection is higher on or before 37 weeks of your pregnancy. Mostly found in the rectum as well as the vagina, an easy and inexpensive swab test will confirm this disease. It means that, during labour, you can pass down the GBS to the baby. Newborns and Infants might show signs of fever, breathing, feeding problems, irritability, and so on. Pneumonia, meningitis, or sepsis are also some serious conditions in babies who suffer from group B strep bacterial infection.

Don’t go to places that have Zika virus

Zika virus occurs from mosquito bites or sexual contact (oral, anal, or vaginal sex), or blood transfusion. Zika is a serious during pregnancy. It can interfere with the baby’s development inside you. The baby growing inside may suffer from microcephaly (a birth defect where a baby’s head and brain are smaller than babies of the same age and sex), and neural tube defects after birth. Additionally, if you’re planning to travel during pregnancy, consult your doctor before. The doctor will tell you to not travel to places that are Zika virus-prone. But, if you are, carry a mosquito net and repellent where you go. 

You Can Get Yourself Checked for Prenatal Infection Much Before You Become Pregnant

Since prenatal infection is stressful, you can take care while you’re planning to conceive. Here’s how you stay safe from prenatal infections before you plan for pregnancy: 

  • Go for safe sexual intercourse by learning about your potential partner’s sexual history. 
  • Try not to ignore pain and itching signs in your private parts before you become pregnant. 
  • Get vaccinated. Being up to date on vaccines is indeed important even before becoming pregnant. It can help protect both the mother and the child from serious, preventable diseases. Rubella, for instance, can be particularly dangerous if contracted during pregnancy, as it may lead to a miscarriage or serious birth defects. Consider following up with your healthcare practitioner. 
  • It is essential to stay away from people who may have infections, such as chickenpox or rubella, during pregnancy if you have not had the vaccine before. These infections can be harmful to both the mother and the unborn baby and may lead to severe complications. 

Are you feeling a little scared? Well! You needn’t worry at all! Follow these tips, consult your doctor before and during pregnancy, prepare food safely, and take medicines. Look after yourself. 

Happy pregnancy to you!