Pneumonia during pregnancy
Created by Ambili S Kartha Updated on Nov 25, 2019
Pneumonia is a dreaded disease as it is and if contracted during pregnancy it can lead to several complications in your pregnancy. I don’t mean to scare you but just cautioning you to be more careful during this winter especially. While pneumonia can be treated it can get a little tricky in case of maternal pneumonia. So what is maternal pneumonia and why is it tricky to treat maternal pneumonia Let’s read first what is maternal pneumonia.
What Is Maternal Pneumonia?
Pneumonia can be considered as a seasonal illness, which is activated during the cold season. It can either be a bacterial or viral infection that results in a lung infection. Once infected, the air sacs in the lungs get filled up with fluid and pus, which makes breathing difficulty. When pneumonia appears during pregnancy, it is referred to as maternal pneumonia.
What Causes Maternal Pneumonia?
The suppressed immune system is the major reason of vulnerability of the pregnant women towards infections. It's the main cause of maternal pneumonia as well.
Any type of prolonged respiratory illness during the pregnancy, even if it is a simple cough or flu, may possibly develop into pneumonia. During pregnancy, due to the suppressed immune system, these illnesses tend to continue for the longer period, which increases the possibility of contracting pneumonia.
Another important physical cause that increases the chances of contracting pneumonia during pregnancy is, slightly declined lung capacity.
Pneumonia can also be one of the out come of several bacterial and viral infections. Viral infections are found to pose more danger during pregnancy. Flu, Chicken pox, Chest infections, Cough, Bronchitis, Common cold are common infections that lead to maternal pneumonia.
What Are The Other Risk Factors For A Pregnant Woman?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to maternal pneumonia. The risk of contracting maternal pneumonia increases if the mother.
What Are The Symptoms Of Maternal Pneumonia?
Here are some of the important symptoms of maternal pneumonia that should not be ignored at any cost.
How Does a Pregnant Woman Get Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is not contagious. Actually, pregnant women is not catching pneumonia, what she contract is the germs that cause it. The viruses and bacteria found in airborne droplets. When the pregnant women inhaled it get into the lungs. Contracting pneumonia depends on the impact of those germs on the body of the pregnant women. It can either pass off as a common cold, flu, etc. or in due course may develop into pneumonia.
How Is Maternal Pneumonia Diagnosed?
A doctor diagnoses maternal pneumonia primarily by analyzing the symptoms and health history of the mother. He will also listen to the lungs, examine lungs with the help of an x-ray. X rays are not preferred during pregnancy. However, the risks from a single X-ray scan is insignificant when compared to the benefits of an early detection of the disorder. The doctor will also send sputum samples to the lab, for tests that find the cause of lung infection.
What Are The Risks Associated With Maternal Pneumonia?
Here are some risks associated with maternal pneumonia.
- Is anemic
- Experiences asthma
- Have some chronic illness that further perils immunity
- Who works with young children
- Who frequently needs to visit hospitals or nursing homes
- Drink alcohol
- The main symptom of pneumonia is persisting cough with phlegm. Most of the time it is accompanied by chest pain
- Breathing difficulties like shortness of breath
- Severe weakness of the body
- Fevers and chill
- Loss of appetite
How To Treat Maternal Pneumonia?
Treating pneumonia during pregnancy is not easy as there are certain limitations in treating maternal pneumonia. Several medications generally given for getting rid of this infection is not safe during pregnancy as it negatively influences the normal growth of the fetus and progression of pregnancy. The treatment intends to lessen the troubling symptoms.
Irrespective of the type of infection the following methods are also used to treat maternal pneumonia, depending on the severity of symptoms.
Can We Prevent Contracting Pneumonia During Pregnancy?
The best way to prevent pneumonia is to avoid getting the flu and other infections that can cause it.
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- If a pregnant women contract pneumonia, it can affect not only the health of the mother but also the unborn baby. The chances of complication increase if left untreated. Here are come of the major risks associated with maternal pneumonia
- The chances of pre-term labor will increase, so will be chances of delivering a preemie with a low birth weight
- The chances of miscarriage increases, especially, if the mother contracts pneumonia during the first trimester
- It can give rise to malformation in newborn
- In severe cases, intrauterine and neonatal death also has been noted
- If pneumonia is accompanied by a very high body temperature, it becomes even more dangerous
- Treating pneumonia due to viral infection:Viral pneumonia is more complicated to treat as antibiotics will not work here. It is a more dangerous type of pneumonia and it spread much faster than bacterial pneumonia. Antiviral medications are prescribed during the early stages, which help to lessen the flu-like symptoms and prevent the propagation of the virus in the body
- Treating maternal pneumonia due to bacterial infection:Bacterial pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics. Doctors carefully choose the drugs that do not harm the baby. Antibiotics like Beta-lactam and macrolide are usually prescribed. Medicines to restraint the cough are prescribed depending on the severity. Doctors, however, as a rule, never try to stop a cough on the whole because a cough is the body's technique of getting rid of the build-up phlegm in the lungs
- Respiratory therapy will help in bringing down the breathing issues
- Inhalers and nebulization are also used to relieve the signs of wheezing
- Oxygen therapy is administrated if the oxygen levels in the blood fall dangerously
- Catching adequate sleep and plenty of rest is important for fast recovery
- Staying well hydrated is important to alleviate several possible complications associated with pregnancy
- Pain reliever to reduce the pain and medicines to bring down the fever are also prescribed by the doctor
- Good hygiene is essential. Wash hand regularly
- Stick on to a healthy lifestyle. During pregnancy, drinking alcohol and smoking is always discouraged
- Since pneumonia usually develops after a case of the flu, getting the seasonal flu shot can help prevent it
- A healthy diet loaded with vitamin C helps to keep pneumonia at bay to some extent
- Avoid spending more time in public places, especially closed places that are not well ventilated