​Infections in Pregnancy

  • During pregnancy, there are certain infections, which may cause illness in the mother or put the baby at risk for illness.
  • For most women there is very little concern. Most people have had infections at a much younger age and have immunity.

Following these few simple guidelines can greatly prevent infections:

1. Practice good hand hygiene

  • This is important if you are around small children on a regular basis, and especially important if you are directly involved in handling children (i.e. diapering or coming in contact with saliva, mucous, urine or feces).
  • It is not necessary to stop working with small children; just practice good personal hygiene.

Wash hands with warm water and soap:

  • Before eating and preparing food
  • After using the toilet, changing diapers or providing personal care to others.
  • Anytime they become contaminated

Note: Waterless hand sanitizing gels are an excellent addition to hand washing or in times when soap and water is not available

2. Handle food safely

  • Meat should be cooked according to the following guidelines:
    • Whole poultry – 82°C/180°F
    • Food mixture that includes poultry, egg, meat, fish – 74°C/165°F
    • Pork, ground meat other than poultry – 71°C/160°F

Wash counters and other surfaces that have come in contact with raw meat and sanitize  with bleach / water solution – 1.5 tablespoons of unscented household bleach to 2 gallons of water. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking and/or eating.

3. Do not eat the following foods which may contain bacteria or viruses:

  • Raw meat or fish
  • Under cooked egg or egg products
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk or cheese made from unpasteurized milk
  • Unpasteurized fruit or vegetable juices such as apple cider

4. Wear gloves when working in the garden

  • Avoid touching your mouth while working, and thoroughly wash your hands after removing the gloves.

5. Avoid cleaning kitty litter boxes

  • Cat feces (poop) can be a source of toxoplasmosis .

Stay away from wild or pet rodents and their droppings.

  • Have a pest control professional get rid of pests in or around your home. If you have a pet rodent, like a hamster or guinea pig, have someone else care for it until after your baby arrives. Some rodents might carry a harmful virus called Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.

6. Determine your immunity to:

  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Chickenpox
  • Fifth Disease
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis

– A simple blood test can determine if you are immune. For chickenpox and rubella, if you are not immune, a simple vaccine may be given to offer you protection.

– If you are of childbearing age and work closely with children (i.e. in a school setting), it is a good idea to check your immunity to these infections as they occur quite frequently in children.

Note: It is not recommended that all pregnant women exclude themselves from a workplace where a viral outbreak is occurring. The decision to stay away from the workplace is a personal decision for a woman to make after discussion with her doctor and employer.