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Great Expectations – 21

There are several diseases and infections that may cause serious problems for your unborn baby. It is important to 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 frst outbreak at the time of giving 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 fare-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 fare-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 frst 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 confrms 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.

Hepatitis B in Pregnancy

Hepatitis is an infection of the liver caused by many different viruses. If you have ever been infected by the Hepatitis B virus and become pregnant, there may be problems for your newborn baby. A certain number of people who contract Hepatitis B develop chronic hepatitis – a condition that can eventually destroy the liver. Also, it can allow the infected person to give the virus to others without knowing it. This is the problem with the pregnant mother and her baby.

A very high number of mothers who test positive for Hepatitis B will unknowingly infect their newborn babies.

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.

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