The measles epidemic has been in the news for some time now, and interest in infectious diseases has been increasing. If you are pregnant, you may be thinking, “I need to check again about infectious diseases.”
In this article, we make a list of prevention and countermeasures against infectious diseases that we would like pregnant women to check. Let’s go over once again the preventive measures and lifestyle precautions that you should take during your pregnancy and while you are pregnant.
Prevention and control of measles and rubella infection
Measles is an infectious disease caused by the measles virus. Pregnant women need to be especially careful because of the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and intrauterine fetal death. The way to prevent it is to vaccinate, but if you are already pregnant, you cannot be vaccinated. Avoid going out during the epidemic period to avoid infection, and get vaccinated if necessary.
Also, some people may confuse measles with rubella, which is called “three-day measles,” but rubella is a different disease caused by the rubella virus. If a pregnant woman is infected, there is a risk that her baby will suffer from congenital rubella syndrome. The only way to prevent it is to vaccinate against rubella, so it needs to be treated separately from measles.
Infections to watch out for during pregnancy
We would like to introduce some infectious diseases to watch out for cytomegalovirus infection, listeriosis, and Zika virus infection.
Cytomegalovirus infection is caused by cytomegalovirus, which we come in contact with on a daily basis. It is usually asymptomatic even when infected, but when the body’s resistance is weakened due to some problem, a variety of symptoms can occur.
If a pregnant woman is infected, in rare cases, the fetus may develop symptoms such as low birth weight, jaundice, and abnormal liver function. Cytomegalovirus is especially common in the saliva and urine of infants, so if you are pregnant with your second child, the only way to prevent it is to make sure that the saliva and urine of your older child do not enter your body.
Listeriosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria found in river water and in the intestines of animals. Normally, it is not a problem, but if a person who is weak eats this bacteria, he or she may get food poisoning, and in severe cases, there is a risk of septicemia or meningitis.
If a pregnant woman is infected, the fetus may be affected. Natural cheese, raw ham, smoked salmon, etc., which may contain these bacteria, should not be eaten as is but should be cooked before eating, or avoid eating them to prevent infection.
Zika virus infection is transmitted through mosquitoes, blood transfusions, and sexual intercourse. There is no vaccine, and if infected, treatment is the only way to minimize the signs and symptoms. If a pregnant woman is infected, the fetus may develop microcephaly. Currently, there are endemic areas overseas, and the way to prevent infection is to not travel to those areas and to abstain from sexual intercourse for at least six months after your partner returns from an endemic area.
Since there is no vaccine for these infections, it is important to be careful in your daily life to prevent them.
How to prevent infections during pregnancy
Let’s take a look at some of the measures you should take to prevent infectious diseases during pregnancy. It is a prerequisite to get the necessary vaccines before conception and to refrain from pregnancy for two months after vaccination. Measles was also a hot topic of discussion, with different generations receiving different vaccinations.
Before getting the vaccine, check your own maternal and child health handbook or ask your family members to make sure you have been vaccinated and understand the current status of your medical history. Even if you think you are fine, there may be vaccinations you are missing.
If you are already pregnant, you basically cannot be vaccinated, so prevent infection through your daily activities, such as avoiding contact with infected people as much as possible. Also, after giving birth, make sure to get the necessary vaccines before the next pregnancy.
You should also be tested for infectious diseases that cause mother-to-child transmission. The relevant infections are hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), group B streptococcus (GBS), human T-cell leukemia virus-1 (HTLV-1), and hepatitis C virus. The necessary infectious disease tests are done when you become pregnant, but some are optional, so it is best to test for any infections you are concerned about.
Precautions in life during pregnancy
During pregnancy, there are many things you need to take care of in your life to reduce the risk of infection. The following is a list of some of the lesser-known precautions that you should take.
- Stay away from crowded places as much as possible and refrain from going out unnecessarily.
- Wear a mask when you go out.
- Do not eat raw foods in general. (Raw ham, roast beef, unpasteurized milk, and dairy products made from raw milk are also not recommended.)
- Cats, rodents, and other pets can release infectious viruses and bacteria in their feces and urine, so be sure to wash your hands with medicated soap after cleaning the toilet.
- Be careful not to come into direct contact with the saliva and urine of small children, and wash your hands with medicated soap after handling diapers and other items.
By following these precautions, you will be able to enjoy your pregnancy with peace of mind.
Pregnancy is a time when you can take proactive measures to prevent infections, such as getting vaccinated. Let’s take what measures we can. Pregnant women should also take precautions in their daily lives to reduce the risk of infection.