A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to get an infection in pregnancy even if you do not have risk factors.
Risk factors for infection in pregnancy vary depending on the type of infection. General risk factors for infection during pregnancy include:
Viruses and bacteria that cause infections are passed through person-to-person contact. You are at higher risk of spreading and getting infections caused by bacteria and viruses if you:
- Do not wash your hands.
- Touch your nose, mouth, and eyes with contaminated fingers.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as
gonorrhea, herpes simplex virus, and
are passed from person to person during sexual contact. Your risk for STDs is higher if you have had:
- Many sex partners
- Sex with someone who has had many partners
- Sex without using condoms
Germs that cause infections such as listeriosis and
have been found in:
- Uncooked meats
- Undercooked meat (such as rare beef) from infected animals
- Uncooked vegetables
- Unpasteurized milk
- Foods made from unpasteurized milk (eg, certain cheeses)
- Processed foods
Your risk for these infections is higher if you eat these foods.
Lifestyle risk factors include:
- Having close contact with someone who has an infection
- Using household items that were used by an infected person and not properly cleaned
- Handling cat litter or soil where there is cat feces
Having a job that involves contact with bodily fluids, such as a:
- Childcare worker
- First aid or emergency worker
- Funeral director
- Healthcare worker
- Dental assistant
- Police personnel
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/cmv/index.html. Updated July 28, 2010. Accessed October 4, 2012.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Andrea Chisholm
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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