Some infections are common in pregnancy simply because there is an ongoing pregnancy and the woman is vulnerable as a result of the pregnancy. Other infections may occur notwithstanding the presence of a pregnancy. Amongst them, I have discussed below.
Malaria. Malaria kills more children and pregnant women than any other group of people. Chemicals that women produce in their body cause certain smell during pregnancy and so mosquitoes to them. This is one of the reasons why pregnant women may suffer from malaria more than they should have been had they not been pregnant. Also, the self-defences of pregnant women against infection is lower than when they were not pregnant.
In all, pregnant women, like anyone else, may have fever, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting, body aches, joint pains due to malaria. The danger of malaria in pregnancy is that if left untreated, the fever and the parasite of mosquito may cause miscarriage. Therefore, a quick attention to suspicion of malaria illness is important at any of stage of pregnancy. Most of us including pregnant women have access to a lot of antimalarial medications. Use them. If not sure, ensure you go to your doctor and midwife as soon as possible.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI, Urine infection)
UTI is in general, common in women than men, pregnancy or not. This common condition is more common during pregnancy. Once the urine is infected, the woman may feel pain during or after passing urine (pee). Fever, pain in the abdominal sides, or in lower abdomen may be part of the feelings. She may have the urge to urinate even more than the pregnancy had originally brought upon her. If UTI is untreated, there is the risk of miscarriage and also kidney damage that may follow.
Treatment: Without doubt the doctor attending to the pregnant woman will carry out relevant urine and blood tests to ascertain the diagnosis.
Most certainly, antibacterial or antibiotics will be advised. On your own, drink more water to help wash the infection away. Also, keep your private (vagina and urethra) area tidy and healthy. Avoid habits that may transfer infection higher into the baby in the womb. Clean the back passage backwards rather than forward. Wash your hands after each visit to the toilet.
The vagina area becomes soggier in pregnancy. The high volume secretions that is present in vagina along with diminished self-defence (low immunity) in pregnancy helps the growth of vagina thrush.
The presence of vaginal thrush could be seen as a thick whitish vaginal discharge. The vaginal and surrounding area may become itchy and sticky. To confirm, the attending doctor may decide to carry out some laboratory tests called high vaginal swab for culture. Any infection is a threat to the baby in the womb.
Treatment: Most anti-thrush medications will take care of the thrush. Some of these are obtainable over the counter at pharmacies. Alternatively, the antenatal clinics will prescribe appropriate preparation to help deal with the thrush.
The mouth is not spared in the changes that the female body undergoes in pregnancy. As a result, the hormone that affects the body may cause the mouth to be vulnerable to dental infections. The gums may be swollen and painful. The teeth may suffer more caries.
However, good oral hygiene, regular mouth wash and avoidance of sugary, factory- processed foods and drinks such as carbonated drinks may diminish the oral diseases encountered in pregnancy.
In spite of what I have been discussing here, other ailments may come upon the pregnant and not just what I have written here. Examples of such illnesses are breathing tract infections (upper respiratory tract infection), changes in colour of skin to becoming darkish and also constipation may be noticed as occurring more by expectant mothers.
In summary, in the last four weeks, we have taken a look at common illnesses as relates to our environment that affect women during pregnancy. Some preventive measures and treatment options had been offered.
The important message that I wish to end this series with, is that most illnesses that occur during pregnancy are preventable provided pregnant women and their spouses take the attendance and use of antenatal clinics very seriously. Prevention, after all is better than cure. Time is now to bring the death of women during pregnancy and childbirth to zero. You too can help. Most diseases can be discovered and dealt with at the antenatal clinics. The sooner the pregnant woman registers, the better for everyone
The Nation News