Screen For Maternal Infections

Pregnancy is one of the most vulnerable and crucial times of one’s life. Your doctor will likely conduct a test to see if you’ve been infected with any infection- for your and your baby’s protection. Infections are caused by viruses, bacteria, and other germs. During pregnancy, your immune system can work slower, increasing the risk of one. The majority of them don’t cause any problems. However, some can harm you, your growing baby, or both. 

What is used to Screen for Maternal Infections?

Testing for infection can include a variety of tests. The doctor will ask about your health history and other symptoms, such as rashes. There will also be a physical examination. 

The doctor then will decide which test you may need based on your symptoms, health, pregnancy stage, and suspected infections. 

These tests detect infections:

  • Taking a Culture: Your genitals will be gently swabbed to determine if the infection is present. A urine and blood test will also be conducted to better understand.
  • Urine Analysis: A urine test is performed to check for bacteria. It will be tested using a special paper strip. It is also usually sent to a lab for analysis.
  • Ultrasound: A baby’s image is created to check for anything that may be out of the normal in the baby that may indicate a mother-to-baby infection.
  • Sample testing post amniocentesis: The fluid around your baby in the womb is called amniocentesis. Amniocentesis is a test for removing a bit of fluid around your baby. Some of the liquid is sampled and tested to check for abnormalities. 
  • Chest X-ray: This shows the structures inside the chest; doctors don’t usually use this- but when they do, it is to check if everything is okay. Often, they provide a shield during the procedure to protect your baby. 

Who should get a Screening for Maternal Infections?

Pregnant women should get screened for infections, especially in the first trimester of their pregnancy. For a fetus to develop normally, the first trimester must be healthy. 

The symptoms of infection vary depending on the type of infection. It is possible that you do not have any symptoms. Some of the signs of a few common infections are:  

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs):
    • Itchiness in and around the genital area
    • Pain during sex
    • Pain in the pelvic area
    • Blisters or Sores
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs):
    • Pain, burning feeling, or seeing blood when urinating
    • Aching pain near the bladder area
    • Needing to urinate often
    • It may cause pelvic pain, back pain, vomiting, fever, and early labor if it moves into the bloodstream.
  • Chorioamnionitis: 
    • Feeling feverish
    • Rapid heartbeat, both the mother and baby
    • Sweating a lot
    • The womb area is tender to the touch
    • An unusual smell in the discharge
  • Listeriosis:
    • Flu-like signs: headache, fever, etc.
    • Muscle aches
    • It can cause stiff necks, confusion, and seizures if it spreads to the nervous system.
  • Signs of the pox infections:
    • Fever, along with itchy rashes
    • Weakness
    • Chills
    • Headache and Muscle ache
  • HIV
    • Fever and fatigue
    • Swollen lymph nodes 
    • Diarrhea
    • Weight loss

See a doctor immediately if you suspect an infection; your and your baby’s health need to get screened for infections.

Why should we screen for Maternal Infection?

Maternal infections can cause problems not just for the mother but also for the child. All women should be screened for all maternal infections, especially HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and Syphilis. Clinical screening is necessary for infants to be protected from infection and transmission.

Which Maternal Infections should you screen for?

It is recommended that pregnant women receive an STI screening on their first doctor visit to look for:

  • HIV
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis B
  • Syphilis

Some other specific pregnancy infections are:

  • Chorioamnionitis
  • Group B Streptococcus (GBS) 
  • Listeriosis

You should also get screened, and hence, can get vaccinated for:

  • Chickenpox 
  • Hepatitis B
  • Rubella
  • Toxoplasmosis 
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Tuberculosis (TB)

Are there any Risks or Complications involved in Screening for Maternal Infections?

Taking care of infection may prevent your newborn from contracting it. Most screening tests have no risks or complications involved. 

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Amritsar - Abadi Court Road. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. Are maternal infections common?

Yes, maternal infections are relatively common.

2. Are all maternal infections harmful?

Not all maternal infections are harmful, but some may be, so screening and treating them is essential.

3. Is screening for maternal infections difficult?

No, it is not. There are a few procedures that can be used- some of them are common such as blood tests and genital swabbing.

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