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Pregnancy is a sensitive phase for every woman. It requires extra effort to protect yourself from infections, virus and diseases during this time for the sake of your health as well as the baby’s well-being. So, it’s important to know how to prevent communicable diseases during pregnancy.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Radha S Rao, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Apollo Cradle and Children’s Hospital, Bengaluru, to find out more about communicable diseases, how they can affect pregnant women and how to protect yourself from their spread.
Communicable diseases are severely spreading diseases from an infected person. It transmits through direct contact with contaminated water, food or air, insect bites, and bodily fluids. Being susceptible to any disease during pregnancy is a complication for both the mother and the child.
A woman’s immune system weakens during pregnancy due to the changes that the bodies undergo putting them at risk of infections. Communicable diseases can cause issues for the developing fetus through transmission from the mother. Communicable diseases during pregnancy can lead to lifelong disabilities, birth defects in newborns and also complications in pregnancy. Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa, cause communicable diseases.
Some communicable diseases can be minor issues, with short-lived symptoms. But some could be critical and even life-threatening. Depending on a person’s overall health and immune system, the severity of their symptoms may change. Some communicable diseases affecting expectant mothers are Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (Enteroviral Infections), Hepatitis B, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS), Rubella (German Measles), and Varicella-Zoster (Chickenpox and Shingles). Seasonal diseases and diseases like malaria and dengue, etc. are also a risk during pregnancy when the immune system is down to accommodate the baby.
A virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV) can cause problems to a pregnant woman if she is infected and she might end up passing this virus to the developing offspring. Pregnant women can reduce the risk of the virus by reducing contact with saliva and urine from babies and young children by not sharing food, utensils or cups with a child.
Hands are the direct carrier of infections and virus as they come in direct contact with various objects. Proper hand hygiene is important. Dirty hands are enough to carry the infection causing virus and making a person sick. Expectant women should wash their hands frequently to avoid infection or carrying any germs. Unwashed vegetables and fruits can also carry infection and thus make it a practice to thoroughly wash and clean everything before consuming
Hygiene is a very crucial step to prevent communicable diseases. Pregnant women must avoid any instance where they come in contact with germs in the form of contaminated water, polluted air, and stale food.
They should avoid crowded places, especially in the first trimester. A pregnant woman must avoid close interaction with people that show the symptoms of an infection. Look out if there are any patients with infections like chickenpox or rubella in the close surroundings.
Some people have STI diseases such as HIV, and Hepatitis B. They usually don’t experience the symptoms of illness. It is crucial to know if one suffers from any of these conditions. Get all the necessary tests done and check with the doctor for any preventive measures to reduce the risk of the child getting infected.
The doctors prescribe vaccinations for pregnant women. These need to be taken by the prescribed time to avoid any complications or infection during the term. The appropriate immunizations given at the appropriate times help pregnant women stay healthy. Getting vaccinated against the flu is crucial during pregnancy.
Additionally, vaccinations can help prevent your child from being ill or developing lifelong health issues.
Communicable diseases can be dangerous if not diagnosed and treated correctly. Expectant mothers should take proper precautions and measures to prevent communicable diseases. Pregnancy-related infections can harm both mother and unborn child through vertical transmission. The precautions and tips mentioned above are necessary to ensure that the women have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
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