Infections during pregnancy – Quick Facts
Pregnant women are generally more susceptible to infections due to changes in hormone levels and immune system function.
During pregnancy your immune system changes so it can protect both the mother and the baby. Different parts of immune system are enhanced while others are suppressed.
This helps in preventing infection in the baby without compromising the health of the mother. Despite all this you are prone to infections that might not normally cause illnesses.
The infections that can cause illnesses in the first trimester leading to abortion include:
1. TORCH complex: These are infections that include toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, and herpes. All these infections do not have any treatment after an infection has started except herpes. These infections if they occur in the first trimester can pass through the placenta and lead to abortions.
2. Chickenpox: There is a 2% risk of abortions occurring in first-trimester chickenpox infections. When the baby is affected they can also develop a congenital varicella syndrome which leads to multiple physical and mental abnormalities.
3. Fifth disease: This is caused by pardon virus which usually causes the disease in childhood. In cases of first trimester infections, it carries a 10% risk of abortion.
4. Gonorrhoea: This is caused by bacteria that can be transmitted through genital/oral / anal sex and is highly contagious. Carries risk of abortions in the first trimester.
5. Chlamydia: This is also caused by bacteria that are again sexually transmitted. Adequate protection taken during sexual intercourse can prevent these infections.
Besides these infections that carry with it a risk of abortion in the first trimester there can be a number of infections which need to be monitored carefully.
These include strep B, listeriosis, dengue fever, syphilis. Precautionary measures are the best method to prevent most of these infections from occurring.
Maintaining hygiene at all times , maintaining your vaccinations up- to – date, practicing safe sex, cooking meats until well done, not consuming unpasteurized or raw diary products, staying away from wild or pet rodents / cat litter are some ways which go a long way in prevention.