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1: Infections in pregnant women

Med J Aust 2002; 176 (5): 229-236.

Summary

  • Some infections are more serious in pregnant than non-pregnant women because of the potential for vertical transmission to the fetus or infant (eg, varicella, rubella, cytomegalovirus infection, toxoplasmosis and listeriosis).

  • Pre-pregnancy or routine antenatal screening for presence of, or susceptibility to, some of these infections and appropriate management can prevent adverse fetal or perinatal outcomes; screening should include rubella IgG, hepatitis B surface antigen, serological tests for syphilis and HIV antibody.

  • If certain other vertically transmissible infections are suspected because of a positive antenatal test result, confirmatory tests for maternal and, if indicated, fetal infection are essential before intervention is considered (eg, cytomegalovirus infection).

  • For some vertically transmissible infections that are not readily preventable, appropriate management of maternal infection can reduce fetal damage (eg, toxoplasmosis).

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  • Gwendolyn L Gilbert

  • Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, NSW.


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