The Importance of Personal Hygiene During Pregnancy

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on August 9, 2012
While personal hygiene is always important, it is even more essential during a pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you have to look after yourself as well as your unborn baby. Poor hygiene leads to infections and illnesses that can be passed on to your baby.


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To prevent this from happening you should:

Wash your hands: There are a number of viruses that can infect your body when you are pregnant. One of the more dangerous types of virus is the cytomegalovirus or CMV that spreads through your body and can affect the cognitive health, hearing, and vision of the baby. To prevent infections, it is imperative that you wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds especially after using the toilet, cooking, or gardening.

Care for your breasts: As early as the fourth month of pregnancy, your breasts may start producing a secretion known as colostrums. This liquid indicates your body's preparation for breastfeeding. At times, the fluid may leak and make your breasts damp and itchy. If this happens to you, wear breast pads that soak up the excess liquid and prevent cracked nipples. Wash your breasts with water and unscented soap avoiding the area of the nipples as this could dry the skin further.

Vaginal care: When it comes to bathing and feminine hygiene during pregnancy, think carefully about what products you use. Some lotions, shower gels, bubble baths and creams may affect the balance of healthy bacteria and lead to irritations and allergies. Avoid scented or harsh soaps and shower gels; wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes to help keep the area free from sweat and odors. Under no circumstance should you ever use a vaginal douche when you are pregnant.

Dental hygiene during pregnancy: According to a report by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poor dental hygiene could be very dangerous during pregnancy. Irregular and poor brushing and flossing could result in bleeding gums or gingivitis and periodontal disease that may affect the fetus and cause serious complications such as premature birth, low birth weight, an infection of the amniotic fluid and abortion. It is recommended that you visit the dentist for a thorough check-up in the first trimester itself. In case, any problems such as cavities exist, they can be safely remedied between the 14th and 20th weeks of your pregnancy. To maintain high levels of dental hygiene, always brush and floss your teeth daily and reduce your intake of sugar.

A daily routine: Needless to say, it is even more important to maintain high levels of overall hygiene during your pregnancy. Have a cool shower everyday rather than a bath, as sitting in a bath may increase the risk of dirt and infections entering your vagina. Very hot showers should be avoided as well. If you have been prescribed bed rest during your pregnancy, have a sponge bath as often as possible. During the later months of your pregnancy, it may be difficult to see over your big belly. Take extra care to wash and dry around the belly during this time.

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