Reviewed by David Barker, MD, FACOG, at Galen Obstetrics & Gynecology, Ridgeside
February is prenatal infection prevention month, and the focus of prenatal infection prevention month is to promote awareness for infections transferred from mother to baby. Prenatal infections can include both bacterial and viral illnesses, which can be transmitted before, during, or after a pregnancy. It is important to always make sure you are taking the right steps to keep your baby and yourself safe.
Here are ten tips to promote a safe and healthy pregnancy.
- Maintain Good Hygiene: Be diligent about washing your hands when being around or caring for children.
- Cook Meat Thoroughly: Cook your meat until there is no pink inside. Undercooked meat might contain a harmful bacterium commonly called Listeria.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk and cheese: Make sure to read the labels on soft cheeses such as brie and feta.
- Speak With Your Doctor about Group B Streptococcus (GBS): Typically, around 1 in 4 women carry this type of bacteria and do not show any signs of sickness. A quick swab towards the end of pregnancy would identify if you have GBS or not.
- Talk with your doctor about maternal vaccination.
- Get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is crucial to know if you have an STI when pregnant, as it could negatively impact the baby.
- Avoid individuals who have an infection. It is important to remember when individuals have Chickenpox or Rubella. Chickenpox could cause pregnancy complications and birth defects. Rubella can cause birth defects and increase the risk of miscarriages and stillbirths.
- Protect yourself against disease-carrying insects: Insects that carry diseases include mosquitoes and tick bites. To reduce the chance of getting bitten, it’s a good idea to use insect repellants. Avoid travelling to areas where infections can threaten you and your baby.
- Avoid touching or changing dirty cat litter and contaminated soil: Dirty cat litter and soil might contain a parasite that causes an infection known as toxoplasmosis.
- Avoid touching rodents, lizards, and turtles, especially their droppings: Some rodents may carry a harmful virus known as lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.
At Galen OB/GYN, Ridgeside our goal is to deliver our patients quality care and provide patients with all the information they need to take control of their health. If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant and want to make sure you take all the necessary precautions, call our office at (423) 629-9743 to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians.