When you’re pregnant, your chances of contracting an infection increase. You may develop various bacterial or viral infections during pregnancy, including urinary tract infections, influenza, or sexually transmitted diseases.
While some of these infections primarily affect the mother, some infections may affect both you and your baby. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the signs and causes of various infections you may encounter throughout your pregnancy as well as how to prevent and cure them.
The human body is always in a state of defense to protect itself against bacteria and viruses that try to infiltrate it. As a result, the body produces a specific amount of certain antibodies to protect us. However, when your body fails to produce enough antibodies to defend you from these viruses and bacteria, it results in an infection.
Read on to learn more about the many types of infections that can occur during pregnancy and the precautions and available treatment options.
When Does The Body Fail To Defend Pregnancy Infections?
When you are infected, viruses/bacteria invade the tissues, multiply and produce toxins. The problem gets complicated during pregnancy, as the infection might affect your unborn baby.
You may become more prone to certain infections during pregnancy because of weakness due to exhaustion or other conditions. Further, pregnancy might lead to mild infections or serious complications. Many such risky infections lead to miscarriage, preterm labor, stillbirth, birth defects and maternal death. This is why appropriate care has to be taken to prevent occurrence, and if the infection has already invaded, then it has to be treated immediately.
Why Does Pregnancy Make One More Prone To Infection?
Pregnancy affects the physiological system and a lot of hormonal changes occur during this period. The time of conception, labor and delivery are susceptible to infections and other complications. Here’s a list of infections in pregnancy you should be careful about:
1. Hepatitis B:
Hepatitis B is the most common infection during pregnancy that affects the liver. If you are infected, it becomes extremely important to take the right steps to protect your unborn child from this infection. Acute hepatitis B virus during pregnancy is one of the major causes of jaundice in pregnancy. This infection spreads through intercourse with the infected person or through direct contact with the infected blood. Hepatitis B infection increases the risk of liver failure or cancer and cirrhosis later in life; hence, immunization of this virus before conceiving is necessary.
2. Hepatitis C:
Hepatitis C can be detected as its first sign is nausea. But since nausea and vomiting are signs of early pregnancy, it becomes difficult to assess the onset of this infection. Hepatitis C can be contracted through medical or dental treatments from a clinic where infected patients often visit. If you are a carrier of this virus, there is an increased chance of your child being affected.
3. Urinary Tract Infection:
Urinary tract infection is usually caused by bacteria from the skin, vagina, or rectum that enter your body through the urethra. These bacteria stay in the urinary bladder and multiply, thus resulting in a number of complications. Also, such bacteria can travel up to your kidneys and cause serious kidney infections.
4. Sexually Transmitted Disease:
There is a pretty high probability of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during this period. The worrying part is that STDs have no symptoms. The most common form of this infection is called chlamydia. Getting a periodic test can ensure safety.
5. Chicken Pox:
Chicken pox is an infection during pregnancy that can cause complications for both you and your unborn child. In most cases, pregnant women are immune to chickenpox because they have experienced it once, and it is not likely to occur a second time. But if one hasn’t contracted it, then the chances are high. Complications in your unborn baby may vary but may lead to damage to your baby’s physical development.
6. Genital Herpes:
Genital Herpes is a genital infection caused by herpes simplex virus. You may catch it through genital contact with an infected person or from oral sex. An infected person gets genital ulcers or painful blisters during the initial phase. Ask your doctor and take the necessary steps to prevent herpes infection. If the infection occurs during the first trimester, it can be treated, but if it occurs towards the end, a cesarean section is preferred to avoid disease transfer to your baby.
7. German Measles or Rubella:
German Measles or Rubella show flu-like symptoms, such as mild sore eyes, increased temperature, and red or pink rashes. If you catch Rubella during pregnancy, it can affect your baby’s sight and hearing. This may also result in brain and heart defects.
8. Group B Streptococcus:
Group B Streptococcus is a rarely seen infection during pregnancy, but if it occurs in the third trimester or during delivery, it can pose various complications such as bladder infections and pneumonia for the mother. It’s best to have a regular medical checkup during this period.
Precautions And Treatment
So now we know the types of infections that may affect you during pregnancy, let’s learn how to deal with them:
- Get yourself immunized to the infections before conceiving.
- Keep track of symptoms and get a checkup done on a regular basis.
- Avoid sexual contact with your partner if he is infected.
- Make sure that your doctor doesn’t use instruments and syringes that have been used previously on an infected person.
- Since your immunity is low, stay alert. You can do this by boiling foods at high temperatures, drinking clean water, washing hands thoroughly after touching animals, etc.
- Choose a type of antibacterial antibiotic what would work best against the specific bacteria that has caused you infection in pregnancy.
- If you are suffering from urinary tract infection, drink ample water. If the infection persists for more than two days, consult your doctor immediately.
UTI, hepatitis B, and genital herpes are common infections that might occur during pregnancy. If not treated on time, these might cause serious complications for the mother and the baby during pregnancy. In addition, the body is more susceptible to contracting these infections during pregnancy as it involves many hormonal changes, which may affect the body’s ability to fight infections. Immunization, maintaining good hygiene, and consulting a doctor on time can help treat any infections on time. Take utmost care of yourself while pregnant and have a healthy and safe pregnancy.