Remember Prevent to Protect:
Prenatal infections are caused by bacteria or viruses that can be passed from mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. Pregnant women may be susceptible to infection because their immune system is slightly less reactive to prevent the rejection of the foetus.
February is International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month and we are making people aware of this serious issue with the intention to safeguard the babies from the upsetting results of prenatal infections.
Let us look at some of the diseases that can be transferred to your baby:
TB:It is a bacterial infection which most often affects the lungs. However, it can also affect other parts of the body. It is present in all over the world and spreads by droplets in the air i.e. from person to person. If present during pregnancy it can cause complications for the foetus if treatment is delayed.
Hepatitis B:It is a virus that attacks the liver. All women should be tested for this virus when they have their prenatal lab work done. Most women who have Hepatitis B do not even know they are sick. There are many ways youcan get Hepatitis B. The virus can be transmitted sexually or by direct contact with infected blood or blood products. If you are infected during pregnancy, you can pass the infection on to your baby.
Rubella (GermanMeasles): Rubella causes rash, fever, & symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection. If you get Rubella during early pregnancy, it could be devastating for your baby. Majority of people gets exposed to Rubella during childhood and they become immune to it once they develop antibodies with age.
Streptococcus: Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria that can causes infection & death in new-born infants. However, the mortality rates have declined after the introduction of antibiotics to women exposed to the risk during labor in 1980s. GBS is normally found in the vagina and rectum of about 25% all healthy and adult women.A mother can pass GBS to her baby during delivery.
Vaginal infections have been linked withpregnancy in the tubes (ectopic pregnancy), preterm labor, babies born too early, and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (an infection in the uterusand tubes) that can lead to problems getting pregnant in the future. Babies born early have a much higher chance of dying within the first year of life.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV):It is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. This infection is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM) and uterine infection if not treated. With this infection you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge and a fishy odor. More than half of all women with this infection do not have any symptoms.
Trichomoniasis (Trich):Trich is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a microscopic parasite. With this infection, you may have an increased yellow-green vaginal discharge with itching and a foul odor. Pregnant women with Trich may have babies who are born early or weigh less than five pounds.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): HIVis the virus that if left untreated can develop into AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another through unprotected intercourse with HIV+ man, infected blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or breast milk. It is very important that you know your HIV status. Every pregnant woman should receive HIV testing early in her pregnancy and again before delivery. A pregnant woman with HIV can reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby to as low as 2 percent with proper care and treatment from a physician.
It is a blood test given to pregnant women. It can help determine whether the mother has any infectious diseases that could be passed on to the baby such as Toxoplasmosis, other diseases including HIV, Syphilis and Measles, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus and Herpes Simplex. TORCH screen is typically performed when a woman shows symptoms of any of these diseases during pregnancy.
- Have less intake of under-cooked, cured or raw meats
- Avoid cross-contamination while cooking & make sure you wash your cutting board properly
- Do less of gardening & handling soil. Stay away from vegetables & sprouts
- Make sure to drink boiled or filtered water
- Do not consume unpasteurized products.
- Wash your hands as soon as you are done cooking, touching your face, nose, mouth, & pets
If you are trying to have a baby or thinking about it, then you should start getting ready for pregnancy. Preconception counseling id provided before and between pregnancy to increase the chances of having a healthy baby.
Pelvic examination is a visual and physical examination of woman’s reproductive organs. During pregnancy, it is done to check any unusual vaginal discharge or infections. It is important for your health and wellbeing, as well as to check the growth and development of the baby.
Urine and Blood Testing
There are two types of pregnancy tests; one uses a urine sample and the other a sample of blood. Both the tests are done to detect the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG).
Antenatal Period Test
These tests are designed to help make your pregnancy safer, check and assess the development and wellbeing of you and your baby, and screen for particular conditions such as HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Rhesus Disease, Anemia, and Diabetes.
Fetal Monitoring in pregnancy varies depending on the clinical scenario. The goal is to prevent fetal death. This test continuously checks the heart rate of the baby.
Plan Mode of Delivery
Vaginal delivery is the most common and safest type of childbirth, but in certain circumstances, other modes of delivery may be used. You need to discuss with your doctor about the modes of childbirth and risk associated with each.
Prophylactic Treatment of Baby after Delivery
Health assessment of the new born begins immediately. One of the first checks is Apgar Test. In this the baby is evaluated for following signs and assigned a value:
- Activity – muscle Tone
- Pulse Rate
- Grimace – reflex Irritability
- Appearance – Skin Color
Score of 7-10 is normal, score of 4-6 may indicate that baby needs oxygen and careful monitoring and a score of 3 and below indicates that baby requires immediate oxygen and lifesaving techniques.
- Measurement of temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate
- Measurement of weight, length and head circumference.