Avoiding Infection in Pregnancy

Infectious disease can be dangerous both for you and your baby, so it’s important to take steps to prevent infection and keep both of you as healthy as possible. Here are some easy steps you can take.

1. Wash your hands often

This is probably the most important step you can take to stay healthy. Make sure you wash up with soap and running water before and after eating or preparing food, after using the bathroom, when caring for children and after being around a sick person. If you can’t get to soap and water, use hand sanitizer.

2. Watch what you eat and drink

Stay away from raw, unpasteurized dairy products (including that delicious white cheese dip). Cook your meat until well done, and only eat hot dogs or deli meats if you heat them until steaming.

3. Get your vaccinations

Certain vaccinations are recommended before or during pregnancy (and possibly right after delivery). Talk to your doctor about which vaccines to get and when.

4. Ask about Group B strep

About 25 percent of women carry this bacteria, which is usually harmless, but it can be dangerous for your baby. A quick swab can tell you for sure, and then your labor and delivery team can protect your baby with antibiotics, if necessary.

5. Stay bug free

Certain insects (especially mosquitoes and ticks) can carry blood-borne diseases that can make you or your baby sick. Make sure you’re protected with an insect repellent containing DEET whenever you go outside during mosquito season, and avoid traveling to locations where infections like Zika are common.

6. Be careful around animals

If you have a cat, someone else should handle litterbox duty while you’re pregnant. If that’s not possible, wear gloves and wash your hands and arms thoroughly after handling cat waste or litter. You should also have a professional take care of any rodents in your home, and let someone else take care of pets like hamster, rats or guinea pigs.