For most women, the prospect of pregnancy is both exciting and frightening. There’s a lot to look forward to as your baby develops, what with ultrasound pictures, kicking, and the overall magic of growing another life inside you. But for many soon-to-be moms there will also be morning sickness, water retention, aches and pains, and the feeling that your body has somehow become foreign and unrecognizable. Believe it or not, you may also have to contend with a number of infections that are common during pregnancy, thanks to shifting hormones and bacteria in the body. So here are a few ways that you can protect yourself from this annoying potential downside that sometimes accompanies the otherwise miraculous creation of life.
One of the most common types of infection during pregnancy comes in the form of a cold, cough, or flu bug. These ailments will affect the average person periodically anyway, but if you’re experiencing the difficulties with eating and sleeping that plague some pregnant women at various stages of gestation, you could be more susceptible to the viruses and infections circulating around you than you would be otherwise. Luckily, there are some easy ways to keep up your strength, fortify your immune system, and do your best to avoid these obstacles. The first step is to take appropriate prenatal vitamins. While you may not be able to ingest the amounts of zinc that would normally be recommended for adult health, you can still get vitamin C and many other useful immune stabilizers via doctor-recommended prenatal vitamins.
You can also make sure that any foods you do keep down are of the helpful variety. Although plenty of women get cravings for sweet or salty foods during pregnancy, anyone who is having trouble keeping stuff down should skip the ice cream and pickles when their hunger is actually piqued and opt for a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods that will help them keep up their strength (lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, etc.). Just be careful to make sure that meats are fully cooked and that you’re careful about animal products. Food-related bacterial infections (like salmonella) can be dangerous during pregnancy and are they’re generally easy to avoid.
Of course, you may also suffer infections having to do with strains of bacteria already in your body. Rising levels of certain types of bacteria are common during pregnancy, and they could result in bladder infections, thrush, bacterial vaginosis (BV), and other ailments. Unfortunately, there may be little you can do to stave off such infections since you wouldn’t necessarily want to take antibiotics when you have no symptoms. But your best bet is to keep yourself healthy and continue to engage in proper hygiene throughout your pregnancy as a way to keep infection at bay. One thing you may not want to do is change your normal routine. Some women may start or stop douching during pregnancy (for one reason or another), but altering your behavior can lead to an imbalance, so talk to your doctor before making any changes. And try to avoid engaging with multiple sexual partners during pregnancy as this can also lead to a variety of bacterial infections.