Common Infections During Pregnancy And How To Avoid Them

Common Infections During Pregnancy And How To Avoid Them

Every woman wants to be fit, active and in the best health while pregnant, sometimes, some common infections during pregnancy can become unavoidable. Catching an infection while pregnant can be worrying as there are chances of the baby being at risk. A woman’s immune system is weaker than usual when pregnant and the body doesn’t produce enough antibodies to fight the infection. Some infections, especially those of the vaginal and reproductive area are more serious and should be acted upon at the first indication.

Here is a list of some common infections during pregnancy:

Vaginal infections

Vaginal infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses growing in and around the vulva and vagina. They are especially common during the reproductive years of a woman because of fluctuating hormone levels and sexual activity. There are four types of vaginal infections which are common infections during pregnancy.

#1.Yeast infection

This common infection is caused by a fungus called candida. This is one of the most common infections during pregnancy because of hormonal changes and changes in the immune system.

  • Itching around the vagina or vulva.
  • Thick, white or yellowish, curdled-like vaginal discharge.
  • Strange odor emanating from the vagina.
  • Pain or burning during sexual intercourse.


Vaginal yeast infections are easily treatable by using a cream or an anti-fungal oral medicine. However, it is important to seek a doctor’s diagnosis as bacterial vaginosis and chlamydia, can be confused with yeast infections.


  • Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other healthy fluids like fresh fruit juices and coconut water.
  • Include yogurt in your diet.
  • Keep the vaginal area clean and dry.

#2. Bacterial vaginosis

This infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of the normally occurring bacteria in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis is also one of the most common infections during pregnancy.


  • Itching, burning, or pain in the vagina or vulva.
  • Greyish, thin consistency discharge.
  • Fishy odor from the vagina.
  • Pain while urinating.


Bacterial Vaginosis is easily treatable when accurately diagnosed by the doctor. It can be diagnosed with a simple vaginal culture at your doctor’s office. If left untreated during pregnancy, it might cause preterm labor, premature birth, and lower birth weight babies.

Also read: 10 facts about Pregnancy that will blow your mind


  • Avoid douching to help keep bacteria balanced in the vagina.
  • Practice good hygiene by washing the anus and vagina every day. Wipe from front to back after urination or defecation.
  • Wear cotton underwear and pants that fit loosely in the crotch to allow airflow and prevent moisture which can encourage infection.
  • Practice monogamous relations and use condoms.

#3. Group B Streptococcus (GBS):

GBS is one of the many types of bacteria that live in the body and usually do not cause serious illness. It is found in the digestive, urinary, and reproductive tracts of men and women. In women, it can be found in the vagina and rectum. However, in a small percentage of pregnant women, the infection may pass on to the baby during labour.


There are no systems of GBS in the pregnant woman. However, newborns infected with GBS may contract an early-onset infection or late-onset infection.

Early-onset infection: This occurs within the first week of birth, generally in the first 24-48 hours. It may lead to lung infections, blood infections or meningitis

Also read: Tests & Scans Before & During Pregnancy

Late-onset infection: This occurs after the first 6 days of life and may lead to meningitis or pneumonia. The symptoms of late-onset GBS in the baby are:

  • Slowness or inactivity
  • Irritability
  • Poor feeding
  • Vomiting
  • High fever


  • Women are tested for GBS late in pregnancy, between weeks 35 and 37.
  • If the test results are positive, showing that GBS is present, treatment is done with antibiotics during labor to help prevent GBS from being passed to your baby. The antibiotics work only if they are given during labor. If treatment is given earlier in pregnancy, the bacteria may regrow and be present during labor.

#3. Trichomoniasis

This is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite. Pregnant women who have trichomoniasis might be at higher risk of delivering their babies prematurely. If left untreated, trichomoniasis increases the chances of contracting the HIV virus which causes AIDS.


  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge which could be whitish, yellowish or greyish in colour
  • Genital itching, redness or burning
  • Pain while urinating or having sex


Since it is a sexually transmitted infection, both partners need to be treated for Trichomoniasis.
When diagnoses accurately, trichomoniasis is easily treatable by a single dose of the correct medication.


The risk of trichomoniasis infection can be reduced by using condoms regularly.

Also read: Can Thyroid Disorders Lead To Problems In Conceiving?

Other infections

#1. Bladder infection

This is the most common bacterial infection affecting a large percentage of pregnant women. A bladder infection occurs when the bladder gets inflamed because of bacterial growth which is caused by a blockage in urinary drainage due to the growing uterus. A bladder infection when detected and treated in time, is not a threat to the growing baby.


  • Burning sensation or pain during urination
  • Increase in the urinary frequency
  • Tenderness or pressure in the bladder area


Oral antibiotics are generally prescribed for a bladder infection in pregnancy

#2. Kidney Infection

If a bladder infection is left untreated for some time, it may lead to a kidney infection. An infection in the kidney may cause premature labor and low birth weight.


  • Fever, chills
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Lower back pain
  • Treatment


A kidney infection in pregnancy may end you in a hospital for some days, where you and your baby will be closely monitored.

Also read: Urinary Tract Infection: Causes & Symptoms

Points to remember when pregnant:

  • Even if you think the infection is minor, do not treat it yourself or wait for it to go away. It is difficult to distinguish between vaginal infections without a medical diagnosis and some vaginal infections may have severe consequences on the growing baby. Seek the help of your gynecologist immediately and only take the medication advised by your doctor.
  • Do not fall for old wives tales or superstitions. Despite the advice of the elderly, your doctor knows best.
  • Maintain a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet.

Also read: 11 Ways To Prevent Urinary Tract Infection

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