Really dangerous infections are very rare during pregnancy, and most bacteria and viruses cannot harm your child. If you become ill, there is usually no risk to the baby. However, there are exceptions.
Rubella (German measles) is a viral infection. If you become infected during the first half of the pregnancy, have not had the illness before and have not been vaccinated, it can harm the baby. Sometimes it can cause miscarriage or damage the baby's brain, ears and heart. Women who did not have rubella as a child and have not been vaccinated should get vaccinated before planning a pregnancy.
Toxoplasmosis and listeria
There are two infections that can be spread through food and are especially dangerous during pregnancy: listeria and toxoplasmosis. The risk of infection is very low, but if you are infected, in a worse case scenario it can cause miscarriage or damage the foetus.
If you are pregnant, you can protect yourself by following the guidelines below.
• If you have a cat, ask someone else to empty the cat litter.
• Wash fruit and vegetables and wash your hands after coming into direct contact with soil. If you do gardening, use gloves.
• Avoid eating unpasteurised milk and cheese.
• Avoid all forms of raw meat and always ask for your meat well cooked in restaurants.
Read more about safe, healthy eating during pregnancy.
Herpes is a virus that causes blisters around the mouth or genitals Herpes can be spread to newborn babies, and is a serious illness for babies. Doctors recommend a C-section if a woman gets herpes for the first time during pregnancy. If the pregnant woman has had herpes before, the newborn baby will be protected by the mother's antibodies.
Group B streptococcus
Group B streptococcus are common bacteria. In rare cases, they can cause complications during pregnancy such as urinary tract infection in the mother, premature birth or serious illness in the baby.
Women are usually not tested for group B streptococcus during pregnancy. If you have been infected by these bacteria in the past, you will be prescribed a urine test and a cervical swab. Group B streptococcus are easily treated with antibiotics.