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VNA of Care New England

Reducing Your Risk of Infection in Pregnancy

There are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting an infection in pregnancy. They include the following:

Practice Good Hygiene

Good hygiene includes washing your hands often. Hand washing is the best way to prevent some contagious infections during pregnancy. Good hygiene also includes not sharing food, drinks, or utensils. This is especially important if you work with large groups of children and if you already have young children at home. Hands should always be washed after changing diapers and helping children with their own hygiene.

Be Immunized

It is best to obtain any needed immunizations several months before your pregnancy. If needed, you can safely receive some vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, during pregnancy.
If you are planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about whether you need immunizations for the following diseases:
There are several infections that have no vaccine available. You can reduce your risk of getting these infections by practicing good hygiene and avoiding direct contact with infected people.

Avoid Exposure to Diseases

  • Avoid travel to high-risk locations. If you are planning to travel during pregnancy, talk with your doctor about the safety of your destination.
  • Make sure children and other family household members are up-to-date with their immunizations.
  • Have someone else change the cat’s litter box. Or, wear gloves and wash hands carefully after doing this. Also, wear gloves while gardening, and wash hands after working in the yard.
  • Maintain a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested for STDs and is not infected. If you have a new partner during pregnancy, use latex condoms every time you have intercourse.

Avoid Contaminated Food

  • Avoid soft cheeses.
  • Avoid all rare or uncooked meat.
  • Cook leftover food or ready-to-eat foods until they are steaming hot.
  • Avoid foods from delicatessen counters, or thoroughly heat cold cuts and hot dogs before eating.

References

Good health before pregnancy: Preconception care. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq056.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130429T1251580398. Accessed July 29, 2013.

Group B streptococcus and pregnancy. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq105.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130429T1253085339. Accessed July 29, 2013.

Hepatitis B virus in pregnancy. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq093.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130429T1253471208. Accessed July 29, 2013.

HIV and pregnancy. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq113.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130429T1254436950. Accessed July 29, 2013.

Nutrition during pregnancy. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq001.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130429T1255207859. Accessed July 29, 2013.

Respiratory infections during pregnancy. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/colds-and-the-flu/respiratory-infections-during-pregnancy.html. Updated November 2010. Accessed July 29, 2013.

Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis.html. Accessed July 29, 2013.

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