Information for Patients
Infections and Pregnancy
During pregnancy, some common infections like the common cold or a skin infection do not usually cause serious problems. But other infections can be dangerous to you, your baby, or both. Some infections may lead to preterm birth and low birth weight babies. Others can cause serious illness, birth defects, and lifelong disabilities, such as hearing loss or learning problems.
Some of the infections that can be dangerous during pregnancy include
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
- Group B strep (GBS)
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Urinary tract infections
- Yeast infections
- Zika virus
To try to prevent infections,
- Don't eat raw or undercooked meat
- Don't share food or drinks with other people
- Wash your hands frequently
- Don't empty cat litter. Cats can transmit toxoplasmosis.
If you do get an infection during pregnancy, contact your health care provider about how best to protect you and your baby. Only some medicines are safe during pregnancy.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection and inflammation of the uterus, ovaries, and other female reproductive organs. It causes scarring in these organs. This can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic pain, abscesses, and other serious problems. PID is the most common preventable cause of infertility in the United States.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia, two sexually transmitted diseases, are the most common causes of PID. Other bacteria can also cause it. You are at greater risk if you
- Are sexually active and younger than 25
- Have more than one sex partner
Some women have no symptoms. Others have pain in the lower abdomen, fever, smelly vaginal discharge, irregular bleeding, and pain during intercourse or urination. Doctors diagnose PID with a physical exam, lab tests, and imaging tests. Antibiotics can cure PID. Early treatment is important. Waiting too long increases the risk of infertility.