Affinity Health Raises Awareness This International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month
February is Prenatal Infection Prevention Month, and Affinity Health reminds all South Africans to focus on simple ways to protect moms and their unborn babies from potentially life-threatening infections.
Many different bacterial or viral illnesses can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or the delivery process. Miscarriage, preterm labour, or congenital disabilities may result from some infections that develop during pregnancy.
While it’s close to impossible to know about every possible type of infection, one can still take steps to protect your unborn child or newborn from infections that cause serious health problems.
“According to research, up to 24 percent of stillbirths in developed countries have been attributable to infection. Other studies suggest that infection contributes to nearly half of the stillbirths in developing countries. As such, it’s vital that all expecting moms are given the right prenatal care and support during their pregnancy and afterward,” says Affinity Health CEO Murray Hewlett.
Women with underlying health conditions like high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome, kidney disease, asthma, uterine fibroids, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease, and those who are HIV positive are at higher risk of developing other infections that can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
Affinity health recommends the following to help protect your baby from infection during pregnancy:
- Routine hand washing is an easy way to reduce the risk for your baby. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Handwashing can help prevent infections such as Covid-19, influenza, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and toxoplasmosis.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Brush up on your oral health and see your dentist for cleanings and check-ups as part of your routine prenatal care.
- Make sure your immunisations are up-to-date (ideally before becoming pregnant).
- Ask your doctor about the signs and symptoms of syphilis, listeriosis, hepatitis, and group B streptococcus.
- Attend all prescribed antenatal care visits.
- Stay clear of drugs and alcohol.
- Get tested for sexually transmitted infections and take precautions to protect yourself against them.
- Stay away from people who you know have infections, such as chickenpox or rubella, if you have not yet had it yourself or did not have the vaccine before pregnancy.
- Only take vitamins in the doses recommended by your doctor.
- Research the warning signs and symptoms of preterm labour and call your health care provider immediately if you experience any of these symptoms including vaginal bleeding, cramping, or contractions.
“Making healthy choices and taking a few extra precautions can improve the chances that babies will be born healthy. Simultaneously, regular check-ups can ensure an infection is diagnosed and treated timeously, improving the outcome for both you and your baby, concludes Hewlett.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.