Page 21 - Great Expectations

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Great Expectations – 21
There are several diseases and infections that may cause
serious problems for your unborn baby. You should be
aware of the various possibilities and understand your risk
potential. As with all pregnancy-related issues, if you feel
you might have a certain disease or infection, notify your
healthcare provider immediately. The following pages outline
many of the common diseases and infections that may be
harmful to not only the mother but also her unborn baby.
Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a viral disease that affects the sexual organs in both men and women. A newborn can experience
serious permanent neurological damage and even death if he is infected during birth. Approximately 50% of
infants born to mothers experiencing their first outbreak at the time of giving vaginal birth will be infected with
the virus. Mothers with recurring infections (recurrent herpes) are not nearly as likely to infect their newborn
babies. Your healthcare provider absolutely must know if you or your husband or partner have ever had
herpes, so that proper precautions can be taken for the birth. You should tell your healthcare provider about
every flare-up you have during your pregnancy, so they can examine you and take a culture if it is necessary.
The recommended treatment of genital herpes has varied
considerably over the past several years. Your healthcare provider
may perform cultures wherever active lesions are present. If you
have no history of recent flare-ups or visible lesions at the time of
your labor, a vaginal birth is recommended.
German Measles
German measles, a viral disease, can be very harmful in the first 3 months of your pregnancy when your baby’s organs
are developing. It can cause birth defects involving your baby’s eyes, ears and heart. Several skin rashes associated
with fever mimic German measles, but blood tests can rule it out.
If you suspect you have been exposed to German measles, call your healthcare provider immediately. They may already
have a blood test from this pregnancy or one of your previous pregnancies that confirms whether you should be concerned
about this disease. Remember, you must actually contract the disease in order to put your developing baby at risk.
Once you have had the illness, you are immune for life. If your blood test results show you have never had this infection,
your healthcare provider will probably recommend you get immunized after this pregnancy.
Most mothers have
immunity to German measles because of vaccinations early in childhood.
Protecting Your
Unborn Baby
Be aware of diseases and
infections that can harm your
developing child.
A cesarean birth should be performed if
you have active lesions when you go into
labor or rupture your membranes.