Practical Ways To Avoid Illness During Pregnancy

Illness at any time can be a challenge but when you’re pregnant, it’s the last thing you want to face. In some cases, viruses and bacteria may be harmful to your unborn baby and even if your illness isn’t life-threatening, treatment may not be straightforward as many medications are not safe for use during pregnancy.

How can you stay healthy and free from illness during pregnancy?

Avoid-Illness-During-Pregnancy

Practice Good Hygiene

Germs often spread by person-to-person contact, so it’s important to practice good hygiene by regularly washing your hands with soap and water. If you have a baby or toddler, wash your hands after nappy changes or after working with a sick child. Wash your hands regularly during food preparation. Don’t share straws, cups or plates with others. Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitiser in your handbag for use when water is out of reach.

Consider Travel Plans

Pregnant women are cautioned not to visit malaria areas during pregnancy or countries with the Zika or West Nile Virus. These illnesses are spread by mosquitoes. If you live in a malaria area, take every precaution to avoid mosquito bites. Travel could also increase your risk for water and food-borne illnesses, which can be dangerous during pregnancy. If you do have travel plans, contact a travel clinic to ascertain what precautions you need to take in your destination country.

Be Cautious Around Animals

If you have a cat, get someone else to change the litter box as there is a risk for contacting toxoplasmosis from cat faeces. If you absolutely have to do it yourself, ensure you use gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Keep your pets free from ticks and fleas to prevent them from getting ill from these parasites. Avoid contact with rodents, both wild animals and pets. Always wash your hands after handling your pets.

Think Food Safety

Some foods are not advocated during pregnancy. Bacteria may grow on these foods and infections can be harmful during pregnancy. Avoid pâtés, soft cheeses, unpasteurised dairy products, unpasteurised goats’ milk, under-cooked meat and raw eggs.

The listeria bacteria causes listeriosis and may be present in deli-type foods, so rather avoid these. Listeriosis can cause foetal death, a preterm birth and neonatal infection in the newborn. Always wash raw vegetables and fruit before eating and use gloves when handling raw meat.

Get The Flu Jab

Influenza can cause complications in pregnancy The flu vaccine is advocated for pregnant women in any trimester and can help you avoid the flu. If you breastfeed, your antibodies will pass to your baby through your milk, helping to keep baby flu-free during the first few months of his or her life.

Avoid Contact With Sick People

Avoid contact with sick people where possible. This can be difficult if you have a baby or toddler or if you work with children. Wash your hands regularly, as noted above, it is your first and best defence against contracting illnesses spread by person-to-person contact.

If you have had chicken pox or rubella (German measles) or have been vaccinated against these illnesses, you are immune, but if not, avoid contact with any ill individuals. Both can be very serious during pregnancy – for mom and baby.

Practice Safe Sex

If you have more than one sexual partner during your pregnancy, you are at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Always use condoms to decrease your risk. If you and your partner are both HIV positive, you must still practice safe sex by always using a condom to prevent reinfection.

Resources:
Information: www.cdc.gov
Photo by: Dexter Chatuluka on Unsplash

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Posted in: Health, Pregnancy
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