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How to manage deadly infections during pregnancy

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

While worrying excessively about anything during pregnancy is unwise, you must take some proactive measures to avoid infections.

Usually, you can prevent most infections with good hygiene practices like regular hand-washing, whereas some infections may need preventive medical measures like vaccinations. In this article, we have highlighted how to manage deadly infections during pregnancy.




List of deadly infections and tips to avoid them

Here is a list of fatal diseases that can have an impact on pregnancy.

1. Rubella

One condition you don't hear much about during pregnancy is rubella. To prevent transmission, it's still critical to follow the immunisation schedule, especially for the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foetal rubella virus exposure can result in life-long consequences, including heart abnormalities, liver damage, and deafness (CDC). Tip to avoid Rubella during pregnancy

Get vaccinated against this disease.

2. Toxoplasmosis

Cat faeces often contain the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which is particularly dangerous to a developing foetus. Other ways in which you may contract the toxoplasmosis includes gardening and consuming unwashed fruits and vegetables that have come into contact with faeces in the soil.

Tips to avoid Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy

  • Eat only correctly cooked meat, and never consume unwashed grocery items.

  • Never allow your cat to consume uncooked meat, and keep it indoors to prevent it from coming into contact with the parasite.

  • Avoid rubbing your cheeks or eyes while cooking.

  • When gardening, wear work gloves and wash your hands afterwards.

  • Change the cat litter box by asking someone else to do it. Wear rubber gloves and wash your hands after cleaning the cat litter box.

  • To stop cats from using your children's sandbox as a litter box, keep it covered while it's not in use.

3. Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Most persons who contract this common respiratory virus aren't even aware that they have a more serious illness than just a cold. However, if you manage to contract the infection while pregnant, it might be fatal for your unborn child. Saliva, mucus, and other physiological fluids are ways that the cytomegalovirus, or CMV, as it is commonly called, can spread. Cytomegalovirus can cause life-altering and occasionally fatal consequences in a foetus, including microcephaly, deafness, blindness, and even learning difficulties. Symptoms can include fever, sore throat, swollen glands, and exhaustion.

Tips to avoid Cytomegalovirus (CMV) during pregnancy

  • Wash your hands frequently,

  • Do not share food or a glass of water with others.

  • Take caution when using single-use goods.

  • Practice safe sex

4. Influenza (flu)

Since getting the flu during pregnancy can have catastrophic repercussions, getting vaccinated is a no-brainer. In addition to the possibility that you will experience symptoms that are more severe than others who are not expecting a baby, the flu can raise the risk of early labour and birth problems such as neural tube disorders. Influenza can potentially cause foetal death.

Tips to avoid Flu during pregnancy

  • Avoid coming into contact with sick people or being around them.

  • Keep to your home while you are ill.

  • Keep your nose and mouth covered when outside.

  • Sanitise your hands.

  • Do not touch your lips, nose, or eyes when travelling or meeting a person with the flu.

  • Maintain hygiene.

5. Listeriosis

During pregnancy, avoiding deli meat and soft, unpasteurized cheese is a good idea as these can up your chance of getting Listeria, a type of food poisoning. It can also cause frightening events like miscarriage and stillbirth. Antibiotics are used to manage neonatal listeriosis, but the mortality rate for neonates with this infection is still relatively high.

Tips to avoid Listeriosis during pregnancy

  • Eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats only if they have been heated all the way through.

  • Avoid eating soft cheeses like Camembert, feta, and Brie, cheeses with blue veins, and cheeses made in Mexico like queso Blanco fresco.

  • Never consume chilled paté or pork spreads. Paté and meat spreads that are shelf-stable or canned are safe to consume.

  • Consume no juice or milk that has been left unpasteurized. Eat nothing made with unpasteurized ingredients.

  • Use any perishable goods that are precooked or ready to eat as soon as possible and clean your refrigerator frequently because Listeria can grow even at refrigeration conditions of 40 degrees or below.

6. Chickenpox

If you have never had chickenpox and you are not immune to the virus, you should get vaccinated before getting pregnant. Specifically, between weeks 8 and 20, infants exposed to chickenpox in the pregnancy run a slight chance of developing congenital varicella syndrome.

Your baby gets more than just a scratch from this. In fact, the baby could experience skin scarring and problems in its eyes, brain, limbs, and gastrointestinal systems if you get infected. Additionally, if you contract chickenpox right before giving birth, your baby may suffer neonatal varicella, which can be fatal. Lastly, having chickenpox during pregnancy doubles your risk of developing pneumonia.

Tips to avoid Chickenpox during pregnancy

  • Ask your doctor about the chickenpox vaccine if you're thinking about getting pregnant and you haven't had chickenpox or received a vaccination yet.

  • Although it's safe for adults, it's advised that you wait three months after receiving the second dose of the vaccination before attempting pregnancy.

  • Your doctor can perform a blood test to determine whether you are immune or have already had the vaccine if you are unsure whether you are immune.

Frequently asked questions

Following are some common questions about preventing deadly infections during pregnancy.


What happens if an infection is not treated while a woman is pregnant?

If an infection is not treated while a woman is pregnant, it can lead to a baby's low birth weight and preterm birth. Additionally, untreated infections can cause hearing loss or learning difficulties, serious illnesses like birth defects, and lifetime disability for the baby.

Is it safe to take medicines during pregnancy?

Some medicines are completely safe to take during pregnancy. Your doctor will prescribe different types of medications that will help improve your and the baby's health. Note that you must only take those medicines prescribed by the doctor and avoid self-medication.

Are pregnant women more likely to contract infections?

Pregnant women are more likely to contract infections as every system in the body is impacted by pregnancy, including the immune system. A pregnant woman may become more susceptible to infections as a result of changes in hormone levels and a poor immune system.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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