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Risk Factors for Infections in Pregnancy

A risk factor is something that raises your chances of having a health problem. You can get an infection even if you do not have risks. The risks are not the same for each infection. The basic ones are:

Poor Hygiene

Viruses and bacteria that cause infections are passed through contact with infected people. You are at higher risk if you:

  • Do not wash your hands.
  • Touch your nose, mouth, and eyes with contaminated fingers.

Sex

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed from person to person during sex. Your risk is higher if you have had:

  • Many sex partners
  • Sex with someone who has had many partners
  • Sex without using condoms

Contaminated Foods

Germs that cause infections have been found in:

  • Uncooked meats
  • Undercooked meat , such as rare beef, from infected animals
  • Uncooked vegetables
  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Foods made from unpasteurized milk
  • Processed foods

Your risk is higher if you eat these foods.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors are:

  • Having close contact with someone who has an infection
  • Using household items that were used by an infected person and not cleaned
  • Handling cat litter or soil where there is cat feces
  • Having a job that involves contact with bodily fluids, such as a:
    • Childcare worker
    • First aid or emergency worker
    • Funeral director
    • Healthcare worker
    • Dentist
    • Dental assistant
    • Firefighter
    • Police staff
REFERENCES:

Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/bacterialvaginosis-2.html. Updated August 2015. Accessed August 13, 2018.

Chickenpox. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116084/Chickenpox. Updated June 25, 2018. Accessed August 13, 2018.

Chorioamnionitis. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Am_I_Pregnant/hic_Premature_Labor/hic_Chorioamnionitis. Updated October 18, 2012. Accessed August 13, 2018.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and congenital CMV infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/cmv/index.html. Updated June 6, 2018. Accessed August 13, 2018.

Group B Strep (GBS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/index.html. Updated May 29, 2018. Accessed August 13, 2018.

Listeria and pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/listeria.html. Updated March 10, 2017. Accessed August 13, 2018.

Measles. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116399/Measles. Updated April 15, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.

Nielsen GL, Sorensen HT, et al. Risk of adverse birth outcome and miscarriage in pregnant users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: population based observation study and case-control study. BMJ. 2001;322:266-270.

Parasites—toxoplasmosis (toxoplasma infection). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/pregnant.html. Updated March 26, 2015. Accessed August 1, 2016.

Pregnancy and fifth disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/parvovirusB19/pregnancy.html. Updated November 17, 2017. August 13, 2018.

Pregnancy and HBV: FAQ. Hepatitis B Foundation website. Available at: http://www.hepb.org/patients/pregnant_women.htm. Updated October 17, 2012. Accessed June 20, 2016.

Shi Z, Li X, et al. Hepatitis B immunoglobulin injection in pregnancy to interrupt hepatitis B virus mother-to-child transmission-a meta-analysis. Int J Infect Dis. 2010;14(7):e622-e634.

STDs during pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/default.htm. Updated October 6, 2017. Accessed August 13, 2018.

Toxoplasmosis. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis.html. Updated May 1, 2014. Accessed August 13, 2018.

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/utiduringpreg.html. Updated March 10, 2017. Accessed August 13 ,2018.

Varicella. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated September 8, 2015. Accessed July 29, 2013.

Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG  Last Updated: 8/13/2018