Personal hygiene is an integral part of self-care, but this routine becomes even more critical during pregnancy. Good hygiene habits protect you and your unborn child from infections.
Why is good hygiene so important during pregnancy?
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause increased sweat, vaginal discharge, and dry, scaly skin. Maintaining good hygiene will:
- Help prevent the spread of germs
- Keep you comfortable
- Make you feel clean and refreshed
How to maintain hygiene during pregnancy?
- Millions of germs accumulate on your hands every day. Washing your hands frequently prevents the spread of germs.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or an anti-bacterial hand wash for 20-30 seconds:
- after going to the toilet
- after changing diapers or helping a child go to the toilet
- after touching the garbage
- before you prepare or eat food
- after touching raw meat
- after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- before and after touching a wound or a cut
- after using household chemicals
- after cleaning the bathroom
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting cotton underpants to allow proper airflow to your vaginal area. Avoid synthetics.
- Wash your underpants with hot water and soap; double rinse to ensure removal of irritants.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes.
- Change out of work-out clothes as soon as possible after exercise.
- When going to the washroom, always wipe from front to back. It will keep the bacteria from entering the vagina.
- A daily shower rather than a bath will prevent bacteria from entering your vagina.
- Don’t use soaps, bubble baths, bath salts, perfumed talc around the vaginal area.
- Speak to your doctor if the normal white vaginal discharge becomes itchy, coloured, or has an offensive odour.
- Your breasts may start leaking milk (colostrum) during pregnancy, making your breasts damp and itchy. Using breast pads inside your bra can help soak up leaks.
- Wash your breasts daily with mild body soap.
- Wash your nipples and the area around your nipples with clear water only to preserve the natural oils in your nipples.
- Apply lotions or creams immediately after taking a bath or shower to soothe your skin.
- Brush and floss twice a day.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
- If you’re concerned about your oral health, see your dentist right away, but be sure to tell your dentist that you are pregnant.
- The Pennine Acute Hospitals. NHS Trust. Your personal hygiene in pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.pat.nhs.uk/downloads/patient-information-leaflets/maternity/during-pregnancy/266341%20Your%20Personal%20Hygiene%20in%20Pregnancy.pdf. Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.
- Marshfield Clinic Health System. Hygiene and oral health during your pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.marshfieldclinic.org/specialties/obgyn/pregnancy/care-tips/pregnancy-info-hygiene#:~:text=Here%20are%20some%20basic%20hygiene,or%20shower%20to%20prevent%20slipping. Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.
- Healthdirect Australia. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. Hand washing [Internet]. Available at: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/hand-washing. Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.
- Healthdirect Australia. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. Vaginal thrush during pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/vaginal-thrush-during-pregnancy. Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.