Infections in pregnancy

Caitlin L Keighley, Hannah JM Skrzypek, Angela Wilson, Michael A Bonning and Gwendolyn L Gilbert
Med J Aust 2019; 211 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50261
Published online: 5 August 2019


  • Infections in pregnancy represent a challenging and often underappreciated area of concern for many specialists and general practitioners and can cause serious sequelae.
  • Antenatal status should be highlighted on pathology request forms, as this serves to alert the laboratory of the need to store serum for an extended period. Prior antenatal specimens can be forwarded to other laboratories to enable testing in parallel with the more recent sample.
  • Women with a confirmed, potentially vertically transmissible infection should be referred to a specialist with expertise in the management of perinatal infections.
  • Cytomegalovirus infection is the most common congenital infection. Women who care for young children are at greater risk of exposure to the virus. Preventive steps including hand hygiene and avoiding contact with children's urine, mucous and saliva are recommended for all pregnant women.
  • The incidence of parvovirus B19 infection in pregnancy is unknown. This infection is highly contagious and may result in fetal loss; particularly in the first half of pregnancy, pregnant women should avoid contact with adults or children who may have an infection.
  • Caitlin L Keighley1,2
  • Hannah JM Skrzypek3
  • Angela Wilson4
  • Michael A Bonning5,6
  • Gwendolyn L Gilbert7,8

  • 1 Institute for Clinical Pathology and Medical Research, NSW Health Pathology Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 3 Mercy Hospital for Women, Melbourne, VIC
  • 4 Alice Springs Hospital, Alice Springs, NT
  • 5 GP Synergy, Sydney, NSW
  • 6 Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW
  • 7 Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 8 Sydney Health Ethics, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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