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Maternal and Fetal Infections: Know the Signs

An infection is defined as the invasion and rapid of microorganisms throughout the body. Your body may respond in several ways, depending on the infection type and severity. The causes of infectious diseases can include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.

What Is An Infection?

An infection can be a common illness like a cold or the flu, a fatal illness like AIDS, or somewhere in the middle with regard to severity. Depending on the infectious illness and the area you live in, infectious diseases can be spread by:

  • Sexual contact, including but not limited to intercourse
  • Transmission of the infection in the air, which occurs when you inhale droplets of the disease while breathing
  • Transmission through needle sharing or receiving a blood transfusion of infected blood
  • Touching the skin of someone who is infected
  • Transmission through insects like mosquitoes that draw blood from someone who is infected then bite someone who is healthy, which infects the healthy person
  • Transmission through food, which happens when you eat food that is contaminated with the infection
  • Transmission through water, which occurs when you bathe with or drink contaminated water

In most developed countries, people contract infections by inhaling contaminated air, sharing needles, skin contact, or sexual contact. In some areas, people can develop infections through waterborne transmission as well.

Infections During Pregnancy

It is common for mothers to develop infections during pregnancy and possibly spread the infection to their growing babies. Pregnant women are more prone to infections because their immune systems are not functioning as efficiently as a natural protection mechanism for the baby.

Certain infections can be very harmful to developing fetuses and put the mother’s health at risk, as well. Some microorganisms that are not harmful to women when they are not pregnant could be dangerous when they are expecting.

Infection Symptoms

The symptoms experienced as a result of infection depending on the infection-causing organisms. Symptoms in pregnant women will often be different than those in non-pregnant women, and sometimes there will be no symptoms at all.

Symptoms can also mimic other medical conditions, so it’s important to consult a doctor for an official diagnosis. Symptoms can include high fever, chills, the inability to keep food down, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and extremely high or low blood pressure.

How to Diagnose an Infection

The diagnosis will depend on organism exposure history and the type of symptoms the patient is experiencing. Tests are run during prenatal appointments to check for and rule out certain infections. Some tests will assess the mother’s immune response to infections like rubella. Other tissue samples, blood tests, and cultures may be used to diagnose an infection.

Infection Treatment

A physician will determine the best treatment for a pregnant mother and her baby based on the mother’s medical and health history, the type of infection, and which medications and treatments are safe for pregnant women.

The risk of a medication or treatment will be thoroughly assessed to ensure it is safe for both mother and baby. The doctor may also use the time the infection is expected to last when determining how to treat it.

How to Prevent Infection

Certain infections, like urinary tract infections, may be nearly impossible to prevent. Other infections are more preventable depending on how they are transmitted. For instance, women can avoid contact with litter boxes to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis, which is present in cat feces. Sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by avoiding sexual contact with an individual who is infected.

It’s important to know the infections that are causes of cerebral palsy so you can take the proper precautions to protect your infant. If you are not made aware of the infection during your prenatal appointments, you may be entitled to compensation.

Hire a personal injury lawyer to look over the details of your case so you can receive fair compensation for medical malpractice or negligence that led to your baby’s health condition(s).

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