Wellness Update - - Meet Our Doctors -

In­fluenza is an­other com­mon virus that can have ad­verse preg­nancy ef­fects. While in­fluenza does not ap­pear to have harm­ful ef­fects on the fe­tus, in­fluenza in­fec­tion in preg­nancy is more likely to re­sult in se­vere ma­ter­nal in­fec­tion with higher risks of pneu­mo­nia, hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, and even death. Preven­tion of the flu is pri­mar­ily ob­tained through vac­ci­na­tion. Be­cause of the risk of more se­ri­ous con­se­quences from in­fluenza, preg­nant women at any time in their preg­nancy or dur­ing breast­feed­ing are rec­om­mended to re­ceive the in­fluenza vac­cine. The nasal vac­cine is not rec­om­mended in preg­nancy, but can be us­ing dur­ing breast­feed­ing. The vac­cine will not only pro­tect the mother, but also the un­born baby, and the new­born af­ter de­liv­ery. Good hand wash­ing as above will also pro­vide pro­tec­tion against in­fluenza in­fec­tion. Other peri­na­tal in­fec­tions that can be pre­vented by vac­ci­na­tion prior to, in preg­nancy, or the new­born pe­riod in­clude Rubella (measles), Per­tus­sis (whoop­ing cough), and Vari­cella (chick­en­pox). Ob­tain­ing th­ese vac­ci­na­tions prior to preg­nancy is an im­por­tant step in precon­cep­tion plan­ning for a preg­nancy. Vari­cella and rubella vac­cines should not be given dur­ing preg­nancy.

Group B strep

Group B strep­to­coc­cus (GBS) is a com­monly found bac­te­ria that is present in the gas­troin­testi­nal and gen­i­tal tracts of 1/3 of women. Ma­ter­nal in­fec­tion dur­ing preg­nancy is very rare, how­ever, the neonate can ac­quire in­fec­tion from GBS in the first few days of life by ac­quir­ing the bac­te­ria from the vag­ina dur­ing de­liv­ery. This in­fec­tion can re­sult in sep­sis, menin­gi­tis, and pneu­mo­nia in the new­born. Preven­tion of neona­tal GBS is ac­com­plished by screen­ing all preg­nant women in the last month of preg­nancy by ob­tain­ing a cul­ture from the vag­ina and rec­tum. In women who carry GBS, an­tibi­otics are given dur­ing la­bor with an 80% re­duc­tion in the risk of early on-sent GBS in­fec­tion in the new­born. Sim­ple mea­sures such as good hand wash­ing and hand hy­giene, re­main­ing up to date with vac­ci­na­tions, screen­ing dur­ing pre­na­tal care, and safe food han­dling tech­niques can re­duce the risk of the most com­mon pre­na­tal in­fec­tions. -Wil­liam Good­night, MD MSCR, Univer­sity of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine

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