Infections are nobody’s idea of a good time, but they can have you even more on edge when you’re pregnant, especially with regard to how they might affect you or your baby.
Infections – vaginal, uterine or other – can pose a greater risk during pregnancy than otherwise. While vaginal infections are more common and not usually a reason for worry, uterine infections and other infections such as influenza, shingles, chickenpox and measles can present serious risks to your developing baby.
Here, we spotlight common infections during pregnancy, their effects, and how you can protect yourself from them.
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Vaginal infections can be caused by yeast or bacteria. Some forms are included below.
Yeast infections tend to appear during pregnancy due to a twin rise in estrogen and glycogen, and shifts in the immune system. Vaginal yeast infections can cause pain or itching in or around the vagina, thick cloudy discharge, odour from the vagina and pain during intercourse. If you experience any of these symptoms, meet your doctor to first rule out bacterial vaginosis, step B infection and chlamydia, and seek medication to treat your infection.
Bacterial vaginosis is a treatable infection caused by bacteria inside the vagina. Its symptoms include itching, burning or pain in the vagina, a fishy odour that worsens after intercourse, and a watery grey discharge. Without effective pregnancy care and treatment, the condition can lead to premature labor and preterm birth.
Group B Streptococcus
Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a silent bacterial condition that seldom presents symptoms or an infection. However, women with the condition risk passing it onto their babies during childbirth, a phenomenon that can prove fatal to the child. Diagnosed on time, the condition can be treated with antibiotics.
Uterine infections can seriously hamper the development of your baby. They may affect the placenta, slow fetal growth, induce premature labor or even cause congenital anomalies. They can also make labor riskier for you, with potential outcomes including organ failure and other grave complications. Uterine infections can be the product of untreated vaginal infections. They can be treated with antibiotics and in some cases, may require hospitalization.
Pregnancy causes hormonal skews and other changes in the body, leaving it prone to infections and skin conditions like eczema, dry skin and cellulitis. Other conditions that pose risks during pregnancy include:
● Hepatitis E
● Whooping cough
● HIV Common conditions can generally be treated with medications, while more serious ones sometimes require hospitalization.
With a few simple measures, you can lower your risk of contracting dangerous infections:
● Use repellents, coils, nets and machines to prevent bites and keep mosquitoes at bay
● Wash your hands every time you step indoors, and at regular intervals throughout the day
● Steer clear of people with contagious infections
● Get yourself vaccinated for serious conditions, in line with your doctor’s orders
● Avoid raw and unpasteurized foods
● If you’re a cat parent, put your hubby on litter duty (cat faeces carry infections)
The good news is that most women who develop infections during pregnancy will sail through without any complications. If you suspect that you’re hosting more than just a baby in your belly, meet your doctor to seek a diagnosis and get a handle on your next steps. After all, the key to a smooth pregnancy, a safe delivery and peace of mind, is timely treatment. Seek yours on Cloudnine.
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