Pregnancy is a time of excitement and anticipation but can also come with its fair share of challenges. One such challenge is the risk of prenatal infections, which can have severe consequences for both the mother and the baby. Prenatal infections are caused by bacteria or viruses passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery.
To prevent these infections, pregnant women must take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their babies. That’s why May is recognized as International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month every year, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of infection prevention during pregnancy.
This article will explore the risks associated with prenatal infections and discuss various prevention strategies pregnant women can take to keep themselves and their babies healthy. By following these tips, they can reduce their risk of contracting infections and give their babies the best possible start in life.
Common Prenatal Infections
Several types of infections can affect pregnant women and their babies. Here are some of the most common prenatal conditions:
- HIV: HIV is a viral infection that can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. If left untreated, it can cause serious health problems for both the mother and the baby.
- CMV: CMV (Cytomegalovirus) is a common viral infection that can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy. Although most babies born with CMV are healthy, some may develop hearing loss or other long-term health problems.
- Group B Strep: Group B Streptococcus is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in the vagina or rectum of healthy women. However, it can cause severe infections in newborns if passed to them during delivery.
- STIs: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy or delivery. These infections can cause serious health problems for the mother and the baby.
Pregnant women must receive regular prenatal care and get tested to avoid dangerous infections. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and keep the mother and child healthy.
Prevention Strategies for Dangerous and Common Infections
Preventing prenatal infections is essential for the health of both the mother and the baby. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a healthy lifestyle and seeking medical attention before, during, and after pregnancy can reduce your risk of pregnancy problems. Here are some tips for preventing infections during pregnancy:
- Get vaccinated: Vaccines and maternal immunization can protect the mother and the baby from certain infections. Some vaccines recommended during pregnancy include the flu vaccine, the Tdap vaccine (to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), and the hepatitis B vaccine. Right vaccinations at the right time can help keep you healthy and the child’s health. These maternal vaccines will also keep your baby from infections, sickness, or lifelong health problems.
- Practice good hygiene: Washing your hands frequently, especially before eating or preparing food, can help prevent spreading infections. Avoiding contact with people who are sick and practicing safe sex can also lessen their risk or reduce the risk of bacterial or viral infections.
- Avoid unpasteurized products: Unpasteurized dairy products and juices can contain harmful bacteria that can cause infections. It is essential to avoid these products during pregnancy.
- Get tested: Pregnant women should be tested for infections such as HIV, infected with CMV, and group B strep. If a condition is detected, early treatment can help prevent complications.
- Keep your environment clean: Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects around your home can help prevent spreading infections. Avoid handling dirty cat litter or rodent droppings, which might carry a harmful virus or bacteria.
Specific Infection Prevention Measures
Pregnant women should be aware of several specific infection prevention measures. Here are some of the most important:
- HIV: HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Pregnant women should get tested for HIV early and receive treatment if infected. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission to less than 1%.
- CMV: CMV is a common virus that can cause hearing loss and other health problems in babies who are infected before birth. Pregnant women can reduce their risk of getting CMV by practicing good hygiene, such as washing their hands frequently and avoiding contact with saliva and urine from young children.
- Group B strep: Group B strep is a type of bacteria that can cause infections in newborns. Pregnant women are usually tested for group B strep late in pregnancy. If the test is positive, the mother will receive antibiotics during labor to prevent the baby from getting infected.
- STIs: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause serious health problems for the mother and the baby. Pregnant women should get tested for STIs early and practice safe sex throughout their pregnancy.
- Rubella: Rubella (German measles) can cause severe congenital disabilities if a woman becomes infected during pregnancy. Women who are not immune to rubella should get vaccinated before becoming pregnant.
- Chickenpox: Chickenpox can cause severe complications in pregnant women and their babies. Pregnant women who have never had chickenpox should avoid contact with people with the disease and get vaccinated after giving birth.
By following these specific infection prevention measures, pregnant women can help protect themselves and their babies from serious health problems. It would help if you talked to your doctor or healthcare provider about any concerns or questions about preventing infections during pregnancy, preterm, and right after delivery.
DrKumo RPM Solutions for Effective Prenatal Infection Prevention and Management of Infections
The importance of preventing and managing infections during pregnancy cannot be overstated. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a valuable tool that can help healthcare providers and pregnant women work together to prevent infections and ensure the best possible outcomes for both mother and baby. RPM allows healthcare providers to monitor pregnant women’s health status and symptoms remotely, which can be especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person visits may be limited or restricted.
DrKumo is a technology leader in highly scalable, innovative, collaborative, continuous, real-time remote patient monitoring solutions can help pregnant women stay engaged in their healthcare, providing them with real-time data on their health status and empowering them to take an active role in their prevention and management of infections during pregnancy. Using RPM with other prevention strategies, pregnant women can increase their chances of having a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. With RPM, healthcare providers can monitor vital signs, track symptoms, and provide timely interventions and treatment as needed, helping to prevent or manage infections and other pregnancy complications.
Infections during pregnancy can pose severe risks to both the mother and the developing fetus. Pregnant women should talk to their healthcare provider about their risk of developing infections and the steps they can take to reduce that risk. They should also seek prompt medical attention if they experience disease symptoms, such as fever, chills, or unusual vaginal discharge. By taking proactive steps to prevent infections during pregnancy, women can protect their health and their babies’ health and increase the likelihood of a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. It is important to remember that prevention is critical and that every pregnant woman can take steps to reduce her risk of developing infections and ensure the best possible outcome for her pregnancy.
Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits of remote patient monitoring for preventing and managing infections during pregnancy. Ensure the best possible outcome for you and your baby. Contact us today!