Risk Factors for Infections in Pregnancy
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A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to get an infection in pregnancy with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of getting an infection during pregnancy. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your healthcare provider what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for infection in pregnancy vary depending on the type of infection. General risk factors for infection during pregnancy include:
Viruses and bacteria that cause infections are passed through person-to-person contact. You are at higher risk of spreading and getting infections caused by bacteria and viruses if you:
- Do not wash your hands.
- Touch your nose, mouth, and eyes with contaminated fingers.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as ]]>chlamydia]]> , ]]>gonorrhea]]> , and ]]>HIV]]> are passed from person to person during sexual contact. Your risk for STDs is higher if you have ever had:
- Many sex partners
- Sex with someone who has had many partners
- Sex without using condoms
The germs that cause infections such as listeriosis and ]]>toxoplasmosis]]> have been found in:
- Uncooked meats
- Undercooked meat (such as rare beef) from infected animals
- Uncooked vegetables
- Unpasteurized milk
- Foods made from unpasteurized milk (eg, certain cheeses)
- Processed foods
Your risk for these infections is higher if you eat these kinds of foods.
- Having close contact with someone who has an infection
- Using household items that were used by an infected person and not properly cleaned
- Handling cat litter or soil where there is cat feces
Having a job that involves contact with bodily fluids, such as:
- Childcare worker
- First aid or emergency worker
- Funeral director
- Healthcare workers
- Dental assistant
- Police personnel
Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/bacterialvaginoses.htm . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Chickenpox (varicella). March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/188_675.asp . Accessed September 2, 2005.
Chorioamnionitis. Cleveland Clinic Foundation website. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/3800/3857.asp?index=12309 . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cmv.htm . Accessed September 10, 2005.
Cytomegalovirus infection in pregnancy. March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/681_1195.asp . Accessed September 5, 2005.
Group B streptococcal disease (GBS). National Center for Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/groupbstrep_g.htm . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Listeria and pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/listeria.html . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Parvovirus B19 infection and pregnancy. National Center for Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/respiratory/B19&preg.htm . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Rubella. March of Dimes website. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/188_673.asp . Accessed September 2, 2005.
STDs and pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/STDFact-STDs&Pregnancy.htm#test . Accessed September 5, 2005.
Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/180.xml . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Urinary tract infection during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/utiduringpreg.html . Accessed September 2, 2005.
Last reviewed June 2007 by ]]>Ganson Purcell Jr., MD, FACOG, FACPE]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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