Sick and Pregnant - Other Illnesses

In Sick and Pregnant: Most Common Illnesses, we discussed the symptoms and threats of some of the most common diseases that expecting mothers might face during their pregnancy. This time we’re looking at other diseases and infections that you might come across, as your immune system will be suppressed during pregnancy and contracting illnesses and infections will be more of a risk. Read on to learn what symptoms you should watch out for and whether or not they can affect your baby.

Yeast Infection

A relatively common problem during pregnancy, a yeast infection is a fungal infection that develops in moist areas of the body, such as the mouth or the vagina. Symptoms of yeast infections include a foul-smelling, yellowish or greenish thick discharge accompanied by itching, burning, redness, or soreness. Your doctor will determine the kind of infection you have and prescribe the necessary medication accordingly in a special dosage that is safe for your baby, so do not use over-the-counter medications to treat yourself.

Stomach Bugs:

Stomach viruses are generally harmless to the fetus, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to delay having them treated. Whether your stomach is upset due to hormones, a virus, or something you ate, the treatment is usually the same: get more rest, drink lots of fluids, and talk to your doctor. If you’re not urinating enough or your urine is dark, you’re probably dehydrated, in which case you’ll have to focus on drinking clear fluids and more water.


Consuming unpasteurized milk and cheeses, undercooked meat, fish and shellfish, unpasteurized juices, poultry, eggs, unwashed raw vegetables, hot dogs and deli meats while pregnant can sometimes make you sick, as they might contain Listeria. Listeria is bacteria that can cause a serious illness called Listeriosis, which enters the bloodstream directly and gets to the baby quickly through the placenta. Symptoms usually appear 12-30 days after contaminated food is eaten, and involve headaches, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. You will need to consult with your doctor if you suspect you have Listeriosis.


If you’ve been vaccinated against the measles in your childhood then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about, however if you haven’t taken the MMR vaccine and you are exposed to someone with measles, your doctor can administer gamma globulin (antibodies) during the incubation period to decrease the severity of the illness if you catch it. Measles doesn’t seem to cause birth defects, but it has been linked to increased risk of miscarriage and premature labor, and if you catch the measles close to your due date, your baby might become infected.


Though unlikely, it is possible to get mumps if you are exposed to an infected person and you haven’t had the MMR vaccine in your childhood or haven’t had the mumps before. The risk of contracting mumps these days is generally very low, but since the disease is known to trigger uterine contractions and could lead to miscarriage during the first trimester or preterm labor later on, it’s better to keep an eye out for the symptoms. Symptoms include vague pain, fever, loss of appetite, swollen salivary glands, ear pain, and pain when chewing or having acidic or sour foods and drinks. Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.

Chicken Pox:

Your fetus can’t catch the chicken pox unless you catch it first, and if you’ve already had it when you were a child or have had a varicella vaccine, then you’re not at risk of being infected at all. If, however, you have not been immunized and have come into direct contact with someone with the chicken pox, your doctor can administer a varicella-zoster immune globulin (VZIG) within 96 hours of personal exposure to protect you and your baby.