Quick Guide to What You Need to Know

Wellness Update - - Meet Our Doctors -

In­fec­tions in the pre­na­tal pe­riod, while for­tu­nately rare, can have ad­verse con­se­quences to ei­ther the mother or the baby. A few sim­ple pre­ven­ta­tive prac­tices such as good hand wash­ing, safe food han­dling, screen­ing dur­ing pre­na­tal care, and vac­ci­na­tion can re­duce the risk of th­ese in­fec­tions. Here we will high­light some of the more com­monly known pre­na­tal in­fec­tions and strate­gies used to re­duce th­ese in­fec­tions.


Prob­a­bly one of the most re­cently pub­li­cized in­fec­tious dis­eases that can ad­versely af­fect preg­nancy is Lis­te­rio­sis. For­tu­nately, this is a very rare in­fec­tion, af­fect­ing only 200 of the more than 4 mil­lion preg­nan­cies in the US an­nu­ally. Lis­te­ria is a bac­te­ria found in con­tam­i­nated food that can cause a flu-like ill­ness with fever, mus­cle aches, and di­ar­rhea. In­fec­tion usu­ally oc­curs in high-risk pop­u­la­tions such as those with a weak­ened im­mune sys­tem, older adults, new­borns, or preg­nant women. In preg­nancy, ma­ter­nal in­fec­tion can re­sult in preterm la­bor or mis­car­riage. If sus­pected, an in­fec­tion can be treated with an­tibi­otics. Preven­tion of in­fec­tion is key to re­duc­ing the risk in preg­nancy and in­cludes: • Avoid­ing eat­ing hot dogs or deli meats un­less heated to steam­ing and

void­ing con­tam­i­na­tion of other foods with the juices of th­ese foods • Wash veg­eta­bles and fruits thor­oughly prior to eat­ing • Avoid con­sum­ing non-pas­teur­ized di­ary prod­ucts, pate,

or soft cheeses (brie, queso fresco, queso blanco) More in­for­ma­tion on Lis­te­ria and preg­nancy can be found at www.cdc.gov/lis­te­ria.


Cy­tomegalovirus, although less well known, is the most com­mon con­gen­i­tal in­fec­tion. CMV is passed from per­son to per­son con­tact of in­fected saliva, urine, or bod­ily flu­ids. In­fec­tion in preg­nancy usu­ally has no symp­toms, but can be as­so­ci­ated with a mild flu-like ill­ness. In one third of ma­ter­nal in­fec­tions, the virus then can spread to the fe­tus across the pla­centa, and even fewer cause in­jury to the baby. For­tu­nately, CMV in­fec­tion oc­curs in only 1-2 % of all new­borns in the US. In most cases of fe­tal in­fec­tion (90%) there are no symp­toms

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