Risk For Pregnant Women From Meningitis | Blog By Dr. Shilva Parasbliss Panchkula
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Pregnancy and Meningitis

Pregnancy and Meningitis

by: Dr. Shilva
Sr. Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynecology Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Meningitis occurs when the membranes around the brain and spinal cord get inflamed. This inflammation results in fever, headache, and stiff neck, photophobia, altered mental status. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi all can cause brain infection.

Type of Meningitis:

  • Viral – Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, it is usually treated by adequate rest and pain killers. Viral meningitis does not cause any harm to pregnant women and unborn child.
  • Bacterial – Bacterial meningitis is more serious infection and can be deadly. It requires antibiotics treatment early. Most of the infection spread by coughing or sneezing with close contact. Most people usually recover from meningitis but sometimes permanent damage occurs leading to disabilities such as brain damage, healing loss, learning disabilities.

Risk of Pregnant Women Contracting Meningitis:

Pregnant women are at increased risk of getting Listeriosis, an infection caused by bacteria listeria monocytogenes .Listerial infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth or life-threatening infection of newborn including meningitis. Pregnant women can reduce their risk of developing listerial meningitis by avoiding raw food products.

Pregnant women can pass group B streptococcus to their baby during delivery. A newborn infected with group B streptococci can develop meningitis soon after birth. Get a test for group B streptococci at 35-37 weeks if the positive infection is there then antibiotics are given to prevent infection in new born.

Prevention of Bacterial Meningitis:

  • Most Effective way to protect you against meningitis is to get vaccination Vaccines are available for three types of bacteria that cause meningitis
    • Neisseria meningitides,
    • Streptococcus pneumonia
    • HIB
  • Vaccinations are not 100% effective’s. The vaccinations do not protect against all types of bacteria, for these reasons, there is still a chance you can get meningitis even if you are vaccinated.Other ways to protect yourself from meningitis are
  • Avoid cigarette smoking
  • Ensure that you get plenty of rest
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
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