While carrying a little one, you’re more prone to pregnancy infections than usual. Any kind of viral, bacterial, and fungal pregnancy infection can be dangerous for you and your baby.
This is primarily because of hormone imbalance. An excess of progesterone and estrogen makes you more susceptible to pregnancy infections.
Research shows that even something as mundane as the flu could be deadly for pregnant women.
In short, you need to be extra careful and quit any unhealthy habits that might increase the risk of such attacks.
Here are 8 unhygienic habits that put you at risk of pregnancy infections.
How Do Pregnancy Infections Affect You?
Many pregnancy infections can be treated with antibiotics, creams, and home remedies. But they can still take a toll on your overall well-being.
Sadly, most pregnancy infections have serious long term effects. They can even disturb the proper development process of your baby.
Following are some harmful effects of pregnancy infections on you and your little one:
- Preterm labor
- Premature birth
- Neurological issues in baby
- Meningitis in infant
- Organ problems in baby
- Cerebral palsy
If you want to keep your little angel safe from these conditions, it’s important to practice good hygiene during pregnancy. Take the right preventive measures to prevent infectious attacks.
Here are the 8 dangerous practices you should quit to avoid serious pregnancy infection symptoms.
8 Nasty Habits That Cause Infections in Pregnancy
1. Vaginal Douching
About 20-40% of women practice vaginal douching to get rid of the unpleasant odor, wash away menstrual blood, or prevent pregnancy after intercourse.
But vaginal douching has more side effects than you can imagine!
Your nether region contains several good bacteria necessary to naturally cleanse the organ through discharge.
But douching is the use of scented chemicals that disturb the natural flora of vaginal bacteria. It creates an imbalance, resulting in bacterial overgrowth. This ultimately leads to bacterial vaginosis.
The first thing you need to do is throw away your douching kit and perfumed soaps.
A slight vaginal odor is completely normal, so don’t let it freak you out. Your vagina is designed to self-clean without any help.
The safest option is to wash your Lady V thoroughly with warm water every time you pee. Use soap to clean the outer region but make sure it doesn’t reach inside.
2. Having Unprotected Intercourse
Do you know unprotected sex raises your chances of getting bacterial vaginosis in the following 48 hours?
This practice is also among the core reasons of contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
Both infections are responsible for premature labor — meaning your baby is born before the due date.
Of course, the development isn’t complete which will lead to serious health concerns and in severe cases, babies pass away.
The worst part is that STIs are often passed on to the infant during delivery.
Always practice safe sex. Make sure you or your partner have protection on. Avoid sleeping with multiple partners especially if you’re carrying.
3. Improper Hand Hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is the key to preventing any infections in pregnancy. Microorganisms settle on everyday objects, foods, and hands for a long time. You might take it in your body without even realizing it!
Ensure you wash your hands thoroughly under running water every time before you eat something. If that’s not possible, carry a hand sanitizer with you to clean off the germs before eating. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when you’re outdoors.
4. Drinking Unpasteurized Milk
Did you know drinking raw or unpasteurized milk can increase the risk of getting pregnancy infections by 5 times?
Pasteurized milk is heated at high temperatures to kill infectious microbes. But raw and untreated milk contains a bacteria that causes Listeria. It’s a serious food infection characterized by fever, body ache, and severe nausea and diarrhea.
During pregnancy, Listeria can lead to premature delivery, stillbirth, and meningitis in infants.
Thus, avoid consuming raw milk to protect yourself and your unborn baby from harmful side effects.
5. Eating Undercooked Meat
If the meat is not cooked properly at the right temperature, the bacteria and parasites present in the meat survive. As soon as you eat it, you get infections.
Undercooked meat raises risk of Taxoplasmosis infection in pregnancy. It’s a parasite that lives in red meat and feces of cats.
Eating such meat could lead to serious food poisoning and raise the chances of preterm birth, miscarriage, and meningitis. The risk is higher during the second and third trimester.
Make sure the meat you eat is well-cooked. According to health experts, red meat steaks should be cooked at 145°F whereas ground meat should be cooked at 160°F.
6. Not Getting Vaccinated
There are several schools of thought on this matter. But the truth is that vaccines are important to prevent yourself from life-threatening infections.
It’s important that you always remain on top of your vaccines. Check whether you’re properly immune to major pregnancy infections or not. Certain vaccines are safe to administer while you’re pregnant.
7. Using Antibiotics Unnecessarily
During pregnancy, your immune system is at an all-time low, putting you and your little one at the target of dangerous infections. So to treat the symptoms, you might be given antibiotics.
Sometimes, these antibiotics could have an adverse reaction, particularly if you continue taking them without a prescription. This often makes the bacteria resistant to those drugs over time.
As a result, when you do get a serious pregnancy infection, these antibiotics won’t work for you.
So be extra careful while using powerful meds and only use them after consulting your obgyn.
8. Changing Cat Litter
Cat litter contains a lot of harmful parasites, including one that causes Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, it’s a high-risk pregnancy infection with a 60% chance of being passed on to your baby during delivery. Your baby might show the initial symptoms after birth, in early childhood, or in adulthood.
If you are pregnant, never touch or change dirty cat litter on your own. Instead, ask someone to help you out.
Hope this article gives you a clear idea about the unhealthy habits that cause infections during pregnancy. Stay clean, lead a healthy lifestyle, and eat proper food to stay away from these horrifying side effects.
Sabika Hassan is a professional freelance health & wellness writer with a strong passion for healthy living. In 2019, she started Women Health Hub, a platform empowering women to take control of their wellbeing. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading the latest medical news, and discovering new health tips.