Unveiling the Blueprint: Conquering Prenatal Infections for Flourishing Foetal Growth

By Dr Pratibha Narayan, 9M by Ankura Hospital, Hyderabad

Pregnancy embodies a truly remarkable journey where a woman’s body undergoes profound transformations to nurture and safeguard the precious life growing within her. Throughout her journey, her body gracefully adapts to support the well-being of herself and her unborn baby. During pregnancy, the mother’s immune system carefully maintains a balance between protecting and accepting the growing baby. From the very start, the body’s defences tread a gentle path, recognizing the developing foetus as a unique blend of her and her partner’s genetic essence. This recognition prompts a subtle recalibration of her immune response, fostering an environment of acceptance and harmony. However, this adjustment, while essential for the baby’s thriving, can render the mother somewhat more susceptible to external threats.

In this tender state, the mother’s immune system, ever vigilant, may find itself navigating a path of heightened vulnerability. While it lovingly cradles the precious life within, it also whispers caution, reminding her to take extra measures to shield herself from potential harm. The maternal instinct, intertwined with the wisdom of nature, guides her towards safeguarding against infections and other lurking dangers.

During this gentle journey, new studies are showing how the tiny organisms living inside the mother’s body play a role in pregnancy. Within the quiet workings of the body’s inner world, there’s a deep understanding shaping the experience of motherhood, even if we can’t always see it. It’s in this soft rhythm of life that a mother finds comfort, feeling connected to the precious life growing inside her—a bond that’s timeless and profound.

During pregnancy, women face increased susceptibility to various invading microorganisms due to changes in their immune system and physiological adaptations which can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby. These infections are:

Bacterial Infections:
Bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), Group B Streptococcus (GBS), bacterial vaginosis, Tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can pose risks to both the mother and the developing foetus.
Viral Infections:
Viral infections like Influenza, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Hepatitis B and C, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Dengue, Rubella and Covid 19.
Some viral infections can be transmitted from mother to foetus, leading to congenital disabilities, developmental abnormalities, or foetal mortalities.
Fungal Infections:
Fungal infections such as vaginal (candidiasis) are relatively common during pregnancy due to reduced maternal immunity that promotes the overgrowth of fungus, which if left untreated can lead to secondary bacterial and viral infections
Protozoal Infections:
Protozoal infections such as Toxoplasmosis, transmitted through contact with cat faeces or contaminated food, can cause severe birth defects or miscarriage if contracted during pregnancy.
Malaria poses risks of maternal anaemia, preterm birth, low birth weight, and foetal mortality.
Listeriosis, caused by consuming contaminated foods, can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or severe illness in newborns.
Proper diagnosis and prompt treatment of infections during pregnancy are crucial to prevent complications such as preterm labour, premature rupture of membranes, and neonatal sepsis.

Even though the placenta acts as a barrier against microorganisms, we don’t know exactly how it stops infections. Scientists are trying to understand this so they can develop treatments to protect pregnant women and their babies from infections.

At 9M by Ankura Hospitals, we prioritize the safety of pregnant women and their babies by conducting routine screenings for these infections. We provide preconception & antenatal check-ups, and antenatal vaccinations & conduct educational programs, creating awareness about these infections. Collaborating with specialists, the hospital ensures comprehensive care and actively engages in research to understand various infection transmission and offer effective treatments, to optimize pregnancy outcomes and safeguard maternal and foetal well-being.

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