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.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites, yeast, and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including
- Genital herpes
Most STDs affect both men and women, but in many cases the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STD, it can cause serious health problems for the baby.
Antibiotics can treat STDs caused by bacteria, yeast, or parasites. There is no cure for STDs caused by a virus, but medicines can often help with the symptoms and keep the disease under control.
Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading STDs. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention