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Feature Article

Infections of concern during pregnancy: prevention and interventions

Lyn Gilbert

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Abstract

Although a broad range of infections can damage a developing fetus or newborn infant, they do so infrequently and many are preventable. Accurate diagnosis is needed to determine appropriate management.

Key Points

  • Infectious diseases that occur during pregnancy can infect and damage the fetus or neonate, although this happens infrequently.
  • Accurate diagnosis of maternal and fetal infections is needed to determine appropriate management.
  • Maternal infections are often asymptomatic or cause mild, nonspecific illness; however, some can be more severe due to anatomical and/or physiological changes that occur in late pregnancy.
  • Routine antenatal screening is recommended for the presence of, or susceptibility to, a small number of infections for which a safe, effective intervention (i.e. immunisation or treatment) is available, to reduce maternal or fetal/newborn risk.

    Picture credit: © KO Studios

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