Avoiding infection in pregnancy : Why should pregnant women avoid getting infections? — Pregnant women should try to avoid getting infections because certain infections can:

●Be worse in pregnant women than in people who are not pregnant

●Be passed from a woman to her unborn baby

●Cause problems for a baby after its birth

How might a pregnant woman get an infection? — Pregnant women can get infections from different sources, just like everyone else. People can get infections from other people, animals, mosquitoes, and certain foods.

Which infections can cause problems for a mother and her baby? — Many different kinds of infections can cause health problems for a mother and her baby. Some of the more serious are listed below, but others are important, too:

●Parvovirus, also called “fifth disease” – Parvovirus is spread from person to person. It can cause a rash on the face, chest, back, arms, and legs. It can also cause joint pain and body aches. If you have been around someone who has parvovirus, tell your doctor or nurse. He or she might do a blood test to check for the infection.

●Cytomegalovirus, also called “CMV” – CMV can be spread by sex and through saliva, urine, and other body fluids. It can cause a fever, sore throat, or body aches. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have these symptoms. He or she might do a blood test to check for CMV.

●Toxoplasmosis – People can get toxoplasmosis from eating uncooked meat or by touching cat waste when cleaning a cat’s litter box. Toxoplasmosis does not usually cause symptoms in adults.

●Listeria – Listeria can cause a fever, chills, and back pain. People can get it from eating spoiled food. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if food is spoiled. Because of this, most doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid certain foods, such as raw milk, soft cheeses, and deli meats. Ask your doctor or nurse which foods to avoid.

●Zika virus – People can get Zika from a mosquito bite in some parts of the world. It’s also possible to get Zika through unprotected sex with someone who has the virus. Most people with Zika have no symptoms, or only mild symptoms. Symptoms can include fever, rash, joint pain, and headache. If you are pregnant and were recently in one of the areas where there is Zika, tell your doctor or nurse. Also tell them if you have had unprotected sex with anyone who has (or might have) Zika.

What should I know about vaccines and pregnancy? — Vaccines can prevent certain serious or deadly infections. Some vaccines are safe to get during pregnancy. These include vaccines to prevent:

●Influenza (flu) – The flu can cause a fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, or sore throat. All adults should get the flu vaccine each year.

●Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis – Tetanus causes the muscles to work abnormally. Diphtheria can cause a thick covering in the back of the throat that can lead to breathing problems. Pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” causes a severe cough. All pregnant women should get the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine at 27 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, even if they got it before. Babies who get pertussis can get very sick.

What can I do to avoid getting an infection? — You can reduce your chance of getting an infection in different ways. You can:

●Wash your hands often, especially after preparing food. Also, wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, gardening, or touching garbage or animals.

●Avoid sharing foods, drinks, or eating utensils with other people

●Pay attention to food safety

●Avoid getting mosquito bites by using bug spray, wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts, and staying inside at dusk

●Use a condom when you have sex, if there is a chance that your sex partner has an infection you could catch during sex

●Avoid traveling to countries where you could catch serious infections

●Avoid touching rats or mice

●Avoid cleaning a cat’s litter box – If you need to clean a cat’s litter box, use gloves and wash your hands afterward.

●Make sure that your family members are up-to-date on their vaccines so they stay healthy, too

What’s the best way to wash hands? — The best way to wash hands is:

●Wet your hands and put soap on them

●Rub your hands together for 15 to 30 seconds. Make sure to clean your wrists, fingernails, and in between your fingers.

●Rinse your hands

●Dry your hands with a paper towel that you can throw away

If there is no sink, you can use a hand gel to clean your hands. The gels that clean hands the best are those with alcohol in them.

How are infections in pregnancy treated? — Treatment depends on the:

●Type of infection

●Chance that the infection will harm the mother

●Chance that the infection will harm the unborn baby

If you have an infection, talk to Dr Berios about the treatment that is right for you.