Common Forms of Maternal Infections

laborMaternity may be a wonderful experience, but the road to getting there can often be riddled with plenty of discomfort. One important factor you need to know about is the risk of infection. Both current infections and those you may develop while pregnant, must be diagnosed and treated immediately. Otherwise, not only might you suffer unnecessarily, but your baby could too. The following are common maternal infections to be aware of so you can address them quickly should they arise.

Rubella

Sometimes referred to as German measles, rubella used to be much more common during the 1960s. Thanks to vaccinations, though, this is no longer the case. Nonetheless, as soon as you know you are pregnant, you should get tested to ensure you have been vaccinated. Fortunately, even if you were never vaccinated, it is never too late, which can help prevent rubella from affecting you or your child.

Despite the low risk of your baby getting the infection, it is important to make sure you have been vaccinated. If your baby were to get rubella, their vision and hearing could be permanently affected. They could also develop cerebral palsy, brain inflammation, congenital heart disease, restricted intrauterine growth and diabetes. Stillbirths and miscarriages would be possible too.

Chicken Pox

This is another infection most people would not think of because the majority of adults have had chicken pox at young age. If you were to develop chicken pox during your third trimester, though, the chances of your baby getting injured are 1%. However, the later the pregnancy goes, the higher the likelihood. If you were to contract it and have chicken pox during your delivery, there would be a 25% likelihood of a birth injury resulting.

Group B Strep

Group B strep is a bacterial infection that afflicts as much as 25% of healthy women. It can be found in the vaginal, rectal and/or gastrointestinal areas. If it is not treated, Group B Strep will be passed onto your infant. Unfortunately, that could mean pneumonia, sepsis, brain injuries and even still born birth in extreme cases.

Syphilis

Syphilis is caused by spirochete bacterium. The sexually-transmitted disease can infect an infant during the birth process or even while the woman is pregnant.

This infection is extremely dangerous as it can compromise the child’s hearing and vision, cause fetal distress, low birth weight, neurological issues, teeth malformations, still birth, and neonatal death.

It is important to note that not all illnesses or infections will be a threat to your baby. Something like the common cold, for example, is no reason to raise the alarm. However, you should keep an eye out for the ones we just mentioned.

Toxoplasmosis

Certain raw or under-cooked meats may contain parasites that cause toxoplasmosis. This parasitic infection can also result from contact with cat feces and soil. Pregnant women who contract the infection may first suffer from flu-like symptoms.

If it is transferred to the baby, the child could develop hearing loss, blindness, or intellectual disabilities.

Pregnant women should always wash their hands thoroughly; cook meats completely, wash all foods under hot water, and stay away from litter boxes or other areas where there is cat feces.

Urinary Tract Infection

Affecting the urethra or bladder, this type of bacterial infection has symptoms like the strong urge to urinate, cloudy urine, pain in the pelvic and a burning sensation that accompanies urination.

If it is not treated, a UTI could cause preterm labor if it makes it to the pregnant woman’s kidneys. There is a long list of infant health problems that could cause.

Hepatitis B Virus

The hepatitis B virus can be extremely dangerous to a baby. Newborns that contract it stand a 90% chance of suffering from liver damage or even cancer and other types of health issues for life.

Hopefully, the above makes it clear that you need to pay special attention to your health when pregnant and see a doctor for all the testing necessary to catch these infections early.

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