Being sick during pregnancy brings an added worry of how an illness may affect your developing fetus. You are likely immune to many infections that could harm your baby, such as chicken pox and Rubella, thanks to vaccines your probably received before you were pregnant. But knowing the risks can help reduce your chances of contracting other infections.
Preventing Pre-Natal Infections
The best way to prevent infection is to practice good pre-natal care, as directed by your OBGYN. Simply washing your hands regularly and thoroughly washing produce can decrease your odds of getting sick. Avoid unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses and lunch meats to prevent listeriosis, as these foods have a higher likelihood of being contaminated.
Getting a flu shot will not only protect you from getting sick, but your baby will also be protected for up to 6 months after birth. And practicing safe sex can reduce your risks of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and bacterial vaginosis.
During your first trimester, your OBGYN will perform a blood test to check for the presence of infections, such as hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV. The test will also be used to check your level of antibodies to ensure you are immune to Rubella and chicken pox.
Ask your OBGYN about a simple test for Group B strep when you are 35-37 weeks along. This common bacteria found in the vagina and rectum does not cause any symptoms but can be harmful to your baby if passed along during birth. The test is painless and consists of a simple swab of the areas.
Treating Infections During Pregnancy
Despite taking preventative measures, infections can still occur. Many women don’t exhibit any symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, the most common include fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you experience any symptoms of illness, talk to your OBGYN.
Some infections are cured with antibiotics, but viruses- such as cytomegalovirus and parvovirus B19- have are generally not treatable. Your OBGYN will likely monitor you and your baby for signs of miscarriage or preterm labor.