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Infections during pregnancy

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Pregnant women are vulnerable to a host range of infections ranging from bacterial to yeast to viral and several other opportunistic infections. The infections can be diagnosed from the characteristic change in colour, odour and physical appearance of vaginal discharge and as well as change in general health.

We list them below:

List of Infections during pregnancy

Bacterial Vaginosis

Change in hormones triggers bacterial vaginosis, wherein there’s overgrowth of bacteria that reside naturally in the vagina. The symptoms are itching in and around the vagina, grayish white discharge and pain during urination.

Candidiasis

It’s a yeast infection caused by the fungi Candida albicans. It mostly occurs due to increase in estrogen levels in the body during pregnancy. Furthermore, change in vaginal flora can also trigger a yeast infection. The vaginal discharge becomes thick and white with great deal of itching in vagina.

Group B Streptococcus (GBS)

It’s a kind of bacterial infection and doctors usually test women for GBS during pregnancy. The exact reason behind GBS infection is unknown. The bacteria cause urinary tract infection, so the symptoms typically are- pain while urinating, cloudy urination, frequent urination, etc.

Trichomoniasis

It’s a sexually transmitted disease caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. The vaginal environment is conducive for its growth and infected women have foul smelling, frothy and greenish yellow vaginal discharge along with irritation and pain in vagina.

Chlamydia

Caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, it’s a sexually transmitted disease that can infect the amniotic sac and fluid and can even pass on to babies. It leads to increased vaginal discharge, cervical inflammation and pain during urination.

Toxoplasmosis

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The infection is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii which is contracted from cat poop or from uncooked meat. It’s usually asymptomatic and can be detected only through screening. If passed on to the baby, it can be fatal for him/her.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease and is a bacterial infection caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It’s acquired through genital, anal and oral sex and can get transmitted to the baby. Women have chances of miscarriage on having gonorrhea during pregnancy.

Listeriosis

It’s caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to develop listerial bacteremia than non-pregnant women. Fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. are some characteristic symptoms of listeriosis.

Miscellaneous

Apart from those, there are numerous other infections that pregnant women are susceptible to. Lower UTI like cystitis, kidney infection like pyelonephritis and several other infections like HPV, HIV and Hepatitis can also affect pregnant women.  

Diagnosis of infections during pregnancy

It’s important to undergo screening tests for infections during this crucial phase. Let your doctor know the symptoms and discomfort you may be experiencing.  Blood tests and vaginal smear tests may be suggested by your doctor to rule out for infections.

Your doctor will also check if the infection has spread to the baby.

Treatment and Prevention of infections during pregnancy

Most of the infections are curable when diagnosed at an early stage. It’s important to get the treatment done as early as possible to ensure safe pregnancy.

When you go for routine medical check-ups, your doctor will definitely give your instructions on how to protect yourself from host range of infections.

Make sure you listen to your doctor’s advice for your as well as your baby’s good health.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 27, 2015