Infections in pregnancy: what are the risks and how to prevent them

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Infections in pregnancy

Pregnancy usually takes place without complications, but in some cases the expectant mother can contract some infections that can be risky for both her health and that of the fetus. Let's explore what the infections in pregnancy more dangerous and how to cure them.

Infections in pregnancy how to recognize them

The best way to fight infectious diseases in pregnancy is the prevention or in any case an early diagnosis: the earlier it is, the easier it will be to intervene, reducing the risk of contagion and any damage that a high-risk pregnancy can cause.

Before pregnancy, an interview with the gynecologist will help to outline one infectious disease map that the woman has already had and therefore will not be able to have during gestation because she has developed immunity. This is the case with rubella or chickenpox. In case of lack of immunity, the doctor will advise the woman to get the vaccine before pregnancy to avoid being able to get sick during gestation, with consequent risks for the fetus.

recognize infections in pregnancy blood and urine tests are performed regularly, in order to make an early diagnosis and put in place a rapid and effective therapy.

Also read: Urinary tract infections in pregnancy

Infections in pregnancy guidelines

Infectious diseases they can be dangerous because they can be transmitted in vertical manner from mother to child. Contagion can occur through placental blood, during childbirth or during breastfeeding and precisely the modality of the possible transmission of the infection is an important fact to evaluate when choosing whether to opt, for example, for a cesarean section.

There are precise ones guidelines for doctors and gynecologists who give precise indications on how to proceed in case of pathologies in pregnancy. For example the choice of opting for a Caesarean section it depends a lot on the mode of transmission of the infection: if there is a possibility that the baby will be infected during its descent into the birth canal, it will be preferable to plan a cesarean rather than a natural birth.

Infections in pregnancy and miscarriage

Some infections can lead to complications in late pregnancy or during the nine months that increase the risk of miscarriage. It is the case of:

  • Toxoplasmosis: if contracted in the first weeks of pregnancy it can cause miscarriage. As it is an infection asymptomatic a blood test called TORC is regularly performed in which toxoplasma is searched. In case of result positive the doctor will do other investigations to verify the time of the infection and the possible transmission to the fetus, with an amniocentesis. Toxoplasmosis is treated with antibiotic therapy to be carried out throughout the pregnancy.
  • Herpes virus;
  • Cytomegalovirus: it can cause abortion, but also problems for the child;
  • Group B streptococcus: it can cause rupture of the membranes by infecting the fetal-placental tissues and therefore an abortion;
  • Mycoplasma hominis and Ureoplasma Urealyticum are the bacteria most commonly associated with miscarriage, they can cause ascending infections with endometritis and salpingitis and also chorioamnionitis, an infection of the amniotic fluid that leads to fetal death.

Other bacterial or viral infections can cause fetal harm and malformations:

  • Rubella: rubella is more dangerous for the fetus if it contracts during the first four months of gestation: it can result in visual defects or complete blindness, cranial malformations, deafness and mental retardation;
  • Hepatitis B and CBoth of these types of Hepatitis are transmitted through the blood and are often asymptomatic. If possible broadcast vertical, we proceed by submitting the newborn in the first 12-24 hours after birth to a prophylaxis with preventive treatment of immunoglobulins and vaccine.


Lo group B beta hemolytic streptococcus (SGB) is a bacterium physiologically present in the vaginal canal and lower intestine. It generally does not cause any problems or manifest with any symptoms, but it can be a problem during pregnancy. 

During gestation a vaginal-rectal swab is carried out in view of the birth in search of the bacterium. This is because the bacterium is transmitted vertically during delivery and can be fatal to the fetus.

It is not possible to preventinfection but it is important to promptly diagnose streptococcus in order to implement the most suitable antibiotic therapy.

In case of failure to diagnose the newborn can contract pneumonia, encephalitis, meningitis or sepsis, which is a generalized infection that develops around 24 hours after birth.


Very annoying intimate itching, whitish vaginal discharge with a consistency similar to cottage cheese, burning during sexual intercourse: these are the main symptoms of candida, those that most women know well and that can also occur during pregnancy.

How is the candida in pregnancy? It is important to drink a lot, take lactic ferments indicated by the gynecologist, follow the prescribed therapy, based on vaginal ovules or candles, which do not involve risks for the child.

Infections in pregnancy, cystitis

La cystitis it is an infection that can occur several times in a woman's life. Symptoms are intense itching and burning when urinating, false urge to urinate and urge to urinate very often, pain during intercourse. To prevent cystitis we recommend drinking plenty of water, advice always valid especially during pregnancy, wear comfortable clothes, underwear made of cotton and natural fibers. Cystitis is diagnosed with a urinalysis and urine culture that will highlight the bacterium responsible for the infection. The gynecologist will prescribe suitable antibiotic therapy.

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