Preventing Prenatal Infection
When most women imagine what their pregnancy will be like, it’s a pretty safe bet that nobody imagines battling infections in themselves or their growing little one. Unfortunately, prenatal infection is a reality – and the month of February is devoted to educating the public about ways to help prevent them.
We know, moms-to-be already have a lot going on and a lot to remember – but there are several relatively simple steps that can be taken to avoid any infections that could potentially be passed on to your developing little one. Many of these tips are really just common sense, but mommy-brain is real and things that are normally common sense can easily be forgotten. Let’s take a look:
- Treat any of your infections quickly: Getting sick happens. Be sure to treat any colds, strep throats, upper respiratory infections, etc. very quickly with the help of your doctor. For some women, recurring yeast infections or urinary tract infections happen throughout pregnancy. It’s important to try and manage and minimize those infections as much as possible. That may mean having to change detergents, soaps, clothing, etc. – which can be annoying – but it’s vital to do what you can.
- Wash up: We constantly drill the importance of washing your hands after using the restroom, but there are several other times when washing your hands is key, especially for the pregnant woman. Those times include:
- Changing diapers
- Playing with or caring for young children or pets
- Cooking or handling raw meat, eggs, veggies, etc.
- Handling soil
- Being near anyone who is sick
- Handling dish sponges, remote controls, doorknobs etc.
- When you are done using computers or touch-screen devices
- Avoid cleaning up after pets: Obviously we don’t mean to neglect or get rid of pets, but have someone else clean up pet waste, clean enclosures, etc. if it’s possible. This step is especially vital if the pet is a cat, rodent or reptile/amphibian. Cats can transmit Toxoplasmosis through their litter. Rodents have been known to carry viruses. Reptiles and amphibians have been known to spread salmonella (yes, the same thing you can get from undercooked chicken). Normally, none of these would be much of a problem, but a pregnant body is a body with a suppressed immune system. That means an infection that you could otherwise fight off easily or avoid altogether can suddenly be a real problem.
- Eat fresh: Packaged vegetables and meats might be fine to eat when you’re not pregnant but, as we mentioned above, pregnancy suppresses the immune system. That means any bacteria that could be breeding in the package will have more likelihood of causing infection. Sandwich meats in particular can start infections in the body if they are not cooked to the point of steaming before they are eaten. That may be ideal for a grilled sandwich but it could make any cravings for a simple turkey club a bit of a problem. Skip the package and go for the fresh stuff, it’s not likely that you’ll get an infection – but it’s not worth the risk.