February is International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month

February is an important month for expectant families.

It’s designated International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month, a time for soon-to-be-parents to educate themselves on diseases that can be potentially fatal to unborn children.

In addition to the many sexually transmitted diseases that can have dangerous medical effects on infants, there are a number of other infections expectant mothers and fathers should be aware of; we’re highlighting some¬†below.

Preventing Prenatal Infections

Group B Strep

As the #1 cause of infectious disease-related death in newborns, Group B streptococcus is carried by 25% of all pregnant women. This bacterial infection thrives in a woman’s rectum or vagina.

At 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy, women should be tested for Group B strep. If test results come back positive, your physician will administer antibiotics via IV during delivery, preventing your child from contracting Group B strep.Pregnant Woman

Since Group B strep can cause serious medical conditions in infants, including sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, or even stillbirth, it’s important for mothers to get tested and treated at delivery.

Listeriosis

While any adult can contract listeriosis, pregnant women are 20 times as likely to get this bacterial infection. The effects can be serious and include stillbirth, miscarriage, premature delivery, and potentially fatal infections in newborns.

There are steps pregnant women can take to avoid listeriosis, including avoiding the following foods that have higher risk of listeria contamination:

  • Deli meat and hot dogs (unless they have been heated until steaming)
  • Soft cheeses (unless made with pasteurized milk)
  • Chicken salad or seafood salad
  • Fresh sprouts
  • Bagged salad mixes
  • Refrigerated pates, meat spreads, and smoked seafood

Toxoplasmosis

This parasitic disease can be dangerous to the fetus if a pregnant woman contracts her first exposure to the infection while pregnant. To prevent first-time infection, pregnant women should avoid the following:

  • Handling raw meat
  • Drinking raw milk (particularly goat milk)
  • Eating raw or undercooked meat
  • Handling cat feces (felines are the top carrier of the infection)
  • Gardening (cats may defecate in the soil)

Ensure Fetal Health With ARCpoint Labs

In addition to the fetal health risks above, expectant mothers should be aware of the sexually transmitted diseases that can adversely harm unborn children.

ARCpoint Labs nationwide offer STD testing so that you can monitor your sexual health. Contact your nearest location today for assistance.

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