- 1 Infectious diseases in pregnancy: chickenpox and measles
- 2 Infectious diseases in pregnancy: mumps
- 3 Infectious diseases in pregnancy: rubella
- 4 Infectious diseases in pregnancy: the sixth disease
- 5 Infectious diseases in pregnancy: Cytomegalovirus
- 6 Infectious diseases in pregnancy: toxoplasmosis
- 7 Infectious diseases in pregnancy: warts
Pregnancy is a "magical" experience to be faced and lived as serenely as possible. However, there are some infectious diseases that should not be underestimated as they represent a very serious danger to the fetus or to the pregnant woman herself. In these cases it is necessary to make a correct prevention and have timely diagnoses quickly. So what are the infectious diseases in pregnancy that put the health of mother and baby at risk? Let's do a quick excursus.
Infectious diseases in pregnancy: chickenpox and measles
Chickenpox and measles, typical childhood diseases, rarely occur in adults. However, if they are contracted during the first trimester of pregnancy, the infection increases the risk of miscarriage or fetal malformations. In the case of chickenpox, if it occurs a few days before birth, the baby can be born healthy but can manifest the disease immediately, even in a severe form, precisely because he received the virus from his mother.
Preventing a possible contagion for non-immune mothers is essential, but if it occurs, it is necessary to act with specific antivirals. Also in the case of measles (caused by the paramixovirus), if the infection affects the woman shortly before giving birth, it is possible that the baby will fall ill in the very first days of life.
Infectious diseases in pregnancy: mumps
Similarly, it is rare to contract so-called "mumps" in adulthood (mumps, also caused by the paramixovirus) and even in this case, in the first trimester of pregnancy, the disease would increase the risk of abortion.
Infectious diseases in pregnancy: rubella
Still on the subject of infectious diseases in pregnancy, if rubella (also of viral origin), which generally occurs with mild symptoms and does not cause particular damage, is contracted for the first time during the first trimester, it can be responsible for severe fetal malformations: damage to the fetus - cataracts, glaucoma, deafness, heart malformations, possible psychomotor retardation - in fact are greater at the beginning of pregnancy and decrease around 17 weeks of pregnancy.
Infectious diseases in pregnancy: the sixth disease
We continue the list of infectious diseases in pregnancy. The sixth disease, or critical rash, is caused in most cases by herpes virus 6, less frequently by herpes virus 7 (the same family of viruses that causes cold sores and chickenpox). It therefore falls within the exanthematic diseases, that is, among those that occur with the appearance of a rash, that is red spots or papules on the skin, in particular on the neck, face, arms and legs. There is no effective vaccine.
The sixth disease occurs more commonly in children between 6 and 24 months; in some cases, although rarely, it can infect adults and pregnant women. Fortunately, it is not dangerous for either the mother or the baby. Sixth disease is quite contagious and spreads through the infected patient's mucus or saliva or through respiratory droplets by coughing, sneezing, laughing or talking.
In the case of pregnant women, the disease can also be transmitted vertically from the mother to the fetus. The onset of the disease occurs with a high fever: while in children the temperature can even reach 39 ° - 41 °, in adults it may not occur at all. The expectant mother who contracts the sixth disease may experience muscle and joint pain, irritability and nervousness, gastrointestinal problems, swollen lymph nodes and sore throat.
The only therapy is the antipyretic which soothes the symptoms and lowers the body temperature. It is obviously necessary to rest and take lukewarm baths or sponging to try to keep the temperature under control. Finally, drink a lot and also take rehydrating solutions. Obviously, the use of antibiotics which are useless in the face of a disease caused by a virus and not by a bacterium should be excluded.
Infectious diseases in pregnancy: Cytomegalovirus
Among the infectious diseases in pregnancy, the picture that emerges around Cytomegalovirus infections (CMV, a virus apparent to herpesviruses such as chicken pox, cold sores or the mononucleosis virus) is different, very common among adults and almost always asymptomatic. Infected people eliminate the virus for a long time with their saliva and urine. The virus can also be present in feces, seminal fluid and cervico-vaginal secretions.
During pregnancy, there is the possibility of transmission of the infection from the mother to the fetus through the placental blood especially if the woman comes in contact with the virus for the first time during the period of gestation. Fetal infection does not usually cause miscarriages or malformations, but it can cause serious diseases to the baby's various organs. For example, it can be the cause of intrauterine growth retardation of the fetus, liver pain, microcephaly.
In severe cases, children can suffer permanent damage.
In pregnant women it is advisable to periodically check the antibodies to CMV also because, for this type of infection, there is no therapy; even the possibility of prevention is in fact very limited given the considerable spread of the virus.
Infectious diseases in pregnancy: toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease that is often asymptomatic in humans, but which if contracted during gestation and transmitted to the fetus, can cause abortion or serious malformations. If the future mother has already contracted it in the past, a blood test (Toxo test) is enough to understand if she has already developed antibodies and therefore does not risk contracting it during the months of waiting.
If not, he must repeat the tests regularly to rule out contagion. Of course, prevention is important: in fact, it is enough to avoid any contact with the cysts of the protozoan toxoplasma gondii that cause the disease: so do not eat raw or rare meat, wash the vegetables well, use gloves for gardening activities and cleaning the litter of the cats.
Infectious diseases in pregnancy: warts
Among the infectious diseases in pregnancy, beware of warts - wart-like formations caused by the HPV virus (papilloma virus) located at the genital and perineal level - when they occur during pregnancy: they must be removed by diathermocoagulation or laser vaporization. In rare cases, these formations can reach such large dimensions (giant condylomatosis) that it prevents vaginal delivery (it is necessary to resort to caesarean section). And if the condylomas are present in the vaginal and vulvar level it is possible that the newborn becomes infected "in passing" during birth: in this case the doctors may decide to give birth to the baby with a caesarean section.
Text updated on 11 August 2022Share Share Share Share