Infections during pregnancy can affect both you and your developing baby. Making healthy choices and taking a few simple steps can help decrease the chance of developing a potentially harmful illness during pregnancy.
Wash your hands often
Wash your hands with soap and water, or antibacterial hand wash for 20-30 seconds:
- when your hands are visibly dirty
- after going to the toilet or helping a child go to the toilet
- after touching garbage
- before preparing or eating food
- after touching raw meat, or unwashed vegetables
- after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- after cleaning the bathroom
- after handling pets
Wash your hands with soap and water and can also make use of hand sanitizer (alcohol-based) as an alternative if available.
Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and food made from it
Raw milk is milk that comes straight from a cow, sheep, or goat and has not been heated (pasteurized). Unpasteurized products can contain harmful bacteria. Avoid eating products made with raw milk. Products made with raw milk may include cheeses, cream, frozen yogurt, pudding. If "pasteurized" is not mentioned on the food label or listed in the ingredients, ask to be sure.
Cook your meat thoroughly
Undercooked meat might contain harmful bacteria. Cook your meat thoroughly until the juices run clear.
Avoid people who have an infection
Avoid meeting people who have chickenpox or rubella if you have never had it yourself and haven't been vaccinated either.
Do not touch dirty cat litter
Dirty cat litter can contain a harmful organism. Avoid touching and changing dirty cat litter. However, if you must change the cat litter yourself, be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands properly afterward.
Only take medications/supplements in the doses recommended by your doctor
During pregnancy, you need enough nutrients to support the baby's growth and your own needs. Your doctor may prescribe a prenatal supplement to ensure that you get all the nutrients. Tell your doctor about any medications or supplements you may be taking (including herbal supplements).
Stay away from rodents and their droppings
Some rodents might carry a harmful virus. Stay away from them and have a pest control professional get rid of pests in or around your house.
Talk to your doctor about vaccinations
Ask your doctor if you need any vaccinations during pregnancy. Having the right vaccination at the right time can reduce the risk of certain illnesses.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Simple Steps to Prevent Infections During Pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/Pages/Simple-Steps-to-Prevent-Infections-During-Pregnancy.aspx. Accessed on Aug 20, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 10 Tips for Preventing Infections Before and During Pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/infections.html. Accessed on Aug 20, 2020.
- Healthdirect Australia. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. Hand washing [Internet]. Available at: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/hand-washing. Accessed on Aug 18, 2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Raw milk dangers: What parents need to know [Internet]. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Raw-Milk-Dangers-What-Parents-Need-to-Know.aspx. Accessed on Aug 20, 2020.
- ChooseMyPlate U.S. Department of Agriculture. Why take a prenatal supplement? [Internet]. Available at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/moms-pregnancy-prenatal-supplements. Accessed on Aug 20, 2020.