Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The early pregnancy. Infections and foetal abnormalities.

What is toxoplasmosis. Is it harmful?

This is a parasitic infection acquired through contact with cats. They are a contaminant of raw food. Avoid contact with cats faeces, consuming uncooked or semi-cooked food. If you have a cat it is best to avoid allowing the cat to sleep on your bed. Also do a blood test for toxoplasma antibodies. Infection during the early pregnancy can cause abnormalities in 18% cases. Such as small brain, excess water in brain, mental retardation.

I have come into contact with the chicken pox virus. will this affect my my pregnancy?

If you have had chicken pox before then it is less likely that you will get it a second time. The virus can only be potentially harmful if you contract the virus. Contact with the virus will not affect your pregnancy. The most common abnormalities occur when contracting the virus in the first trimestor. These include growth and mental retardation, abnormalities of the limbs and skin scarring.

Will rubella infection affect my pregnancy?

German measles or rubella results in abnormalities in 20% infections. The virus may cross the placenta and cause serious abnormalities such as mental retardation, cataracts, deafness, heart defects.

I am 6 weeks pregnant and have come into contact with a person with rubella. Will this affect my baby?

You should see your obstetrician right away. Blood tests will determine if you have immunity to rubella. He may want to give you passive immunisation with immunoglobulin. This injection may have to be repeated a few days later and if the blood tests show that after 3 weeks from contact you have not contracted rubella then you are safe!

I have recently had a rubella vaccination and am now pregnant 2 months after the injection. will this affect my baby?

The advice that is normally given is that you should not get pregnant within 3 months of the vaccination. However from reports so far it now appears that there are no adverse effects on the pregnancy.

I am now 6 weeks pregnant. Can I be vaccinated against the the chicken pox virus? Can I be vaccinated against flu?

Generally live virus vaccination should not be done during pregnancy but if inadvertent vaccination has occured, you should not be alarmed as there are no reported effects on the pregnancy. It is recommended that you be vaccinated against flu virus during the flu season or if it is endemic. The effects of flu during pregnancy can be more serious then if you are not pregnant.

can herpes simplex type I and II infections cause abnormalities?

If it is the primary infection, herpes simplex can cause microcephaly ( reduced brain size), hydrocephalus ( enlarged head filled with excess water in the brain) and patent ductus ( an important blood vessel to the heart that does not close at birth). Transmission of the herpes virus is low during pregnancy but is more likely to occur during vaginal delivery.

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