Infections and pregnancy: What you need to know
There are some things to be aware of about infections when you’re pregnant
You can't live in a bubble when you’re pregnant, or avoid all sources of infection for nine months straight. And even if you do get an infection, your baby is unlikely to be affected. But you do need to be careful – there are some infections that can cause problems for your unborn baby.
The answer is to attend pre-natal checks, know how to reduce your risk and seek help if you’re concerned.
Here’s our quick guide to the basics...
Routine tests during your pregnancy will tell you if you’re immune to certain infections, such as chicken pox and rubella. And you'll also be tested for infections that can go unnoticed, such as urinary tract infections, group B strep, hepatitis B, and HIV. So make sure you attend your pre-natal appointments.
When to get help
Some infections can be dangerous during pregnancy, so if you think you've been exposed to something or feel unusually ill, speak to your doctor or midwife straight away to rule out any serious issues. You might want to get checked for sexually transmitted infections too as many STIs go unnoticed, but can affect your baby’s health. If you’re concerned ask your GP or midwife for advice or go along to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or sexual health clinic near you .
How to reduce your risk
• Beware animal friends - avoid pigs, sheep and cat litter (phew - cats themselves are fine!)
• Dodge food-borne infections — avoid risky foods , wash fruits and vegetables, make sure your meat, fish, and eggs are well cooked and keep your work surfaces sparkling clean
• Embrace good hygiene – wash your hands regularly and avoid sharing glasses or utensils
• Avoid the ill - stay away from anyone you know who has a contagious disease.