Safeguard Yourself Against These Harmful Infections During Pregnancy

Safeguard Yourself Against These Harmful Infections During Pregnancy

“If a pregnant woman is infected with hepatitis E during her third trimester it increases maternal morbidity and mortality as well”

We all are exposed to bacteria and viruses in our environment every second. And only a good immune system can protect you from the allied infections. However, a pregnant woman’s chances of getting infections is a little more, as compared to those who are not pregnant, because pregnancy is an immune-compromised state and pregnant women can contract these infections very easily.

Thus, if you are pregnant, it is advisable to safeguard yourself from communicable diseases by avoiding contact with infected persons. Listed here are some of the common and harmful infections to safeguard against during pregnancy.

Harmful Infections During Pregnancy

Hepatitis B

This is a sexually transmitted and blood borne infection. A test for this infection is a part of routine antenatal tests and if positive, the husband should also be screened and immunized, it non-immune. It a pregnant woman is found to be positive for HBeAg her infectivity has to be assessed by measuring HBeAg. Proper counselling is important, as the baby of these mothers need both active and passive immunization.

Hepatitis C

This infection is transmitted via needles, syringes and infected blood products and also via sexual contact. But unlike Hepatitis B, there are no prevention measures to avoid transmission of this infection, lithe baby gets it, specialist referral is required. However, chances of transmission of hepatitis C to the baby are very low.

Hepatitis E

It is transmitted through food and water like Hepatitis A. It affects the liver and is usually a self-limiting infection, but in case of pregnant women the course of this hepatitis is very fulminant. If a pregnant woman gets it during her third trimester, it increases maternal morbidity and mortality as well.


This is a virally transmitted infection and usually causes fever with rash. It is also self-limiting, but if contracted in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, it may cause congenital anomalies like cataract, deafness, brain damage and also stillbirth and miscarriage.

If you are non-immune against rubella during your pregnancy, try to stay away from those suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection. And if you are planning a pregnancy, it is advisable to check for rubella immune status, if non-immune, it is best to take the vaccine as it provides lifelong immunity.

Caution: Make sure you don’t conceive for one month after taking the vaccine, as it is a live virus vaccine.

Chicken Pox

This viral infection if contracted during the first and second trimester of pregnancy, may cause harm to the baby. Immunity against this has to be checked if the mother is exposed to chicken pox and if she’s non- immune, passive immunization has to be carried out during pregnancy. If already infected, she has to be treated accordingly, with anti viraIs and also a foetal medicine expert should be involved for the ultrasounds to see if there is any effect on the foetus, due to chicken pox.

Genital Herpes

This is a viral infection that can be treated, if contracted in the first or second trimester. However, if a pregnant woman gets it during the third trimester or near the delivery time, the transmission rate to the baby is very high and the doctor may advise a caesarean section to avoid the transfer of the infection to the baby.

Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus/HIV/Retroviral Infection

This viral Infection is transmitted by sex and blood products. And like in the case with hepatitis B, this is also a part of routine antenatal tests. With proper treatment of positive cases, the transmission can be reduced to less than one per cent. However, the viral load needs to be assessed to decide the mode of delivery, lithe viral load Is very high, a caesarean section is chosen as a delivery method to avoid the transmission to the baby. Also, mothers are advised not to breastfeed if they are HIV reactive.


This infection is spread by cats and their faeces. Thus, avoiding contact with these during pregnancy helps in avoiding toxoplasmosis. Though treatment is available, this infection can also affect the pregnancy if the mother is suffering from it.

Cytomegalovirus Infection

This is another viral infection that has many effects on the foetus if contracted during pregnancy. It can cause hearing impairment, neurological problems and visual impairment. It can be avoided by avoiding contact with youngsters.

Parvovirus B Infection

This infection is transmitted by close contact with people or children suffering from it. Immune status can be checked with a simple blood test.


Pregnant women should be routinely screened for this infection which is sexually transmitted. It has effects on the foetus such as miscarriage and stillbirth and also causes congenital syphilis in the new-born. If tested positive, women should be treated during pregnancy as well.

Health Tip

Various tests are available to detect these infections nowadays and most of these infections can be treated. Thus, it is recommended to visit your doctor for a routine check-up, because if any infection is suspected, specific tests and treatment will be advised.

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