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Typhoid During Pregnancy

4 min read

Typhoid fever is a major risk during pregnancy owing to the slow peristaltic activity of the biliary and gastrointestinal tract in pregnancy. Another important reason is the antibiotic resistance among bacteria salmonellae that makes initial treatment difficult. Moreover the restricted use of antibiotics during pregnancy also makes matters worse.
typhoid in pregnancy

  • What Causes Typhoid In Pregnancy?
  • How Does Typhoid Infection Spread?
  • What Are The Symptoms Of Typhoid During Pregnancy?
  • How Is Typhoid Treated During Pregnancy?
  • Can I Get Typhoid Vaccine During Pregnancy?
  • How Does Typhoid Affect My Baby?
  • What Precautions Can I Take Against Typhoid When I Am Pregnant?
  • What Are The Complications Of Typhoid?

What Causes Typhoid In Pregnancy?

Typhoid fever or enteric fever is a life threatening and serious infection occurring in developing nations due to the scarcity of cleanliness and other sanitation measures. The acute infection is caused by Salmonella typhi. A milder form of infection, Paratyphoid is caused by Salmonella paratyphi bacteria through contaminated food, especially the food that has not been cooked or stored properly. Living in unsanitary conditions or drinking contaminated water can increase your chances of getting typhoid in pregnancy.

How Does Typhoid Infection Spread?

Typhoid fever is transmitted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water that has been infected by the typhoid bacteria. The typhoid bacteria can thrive in the dried sewage or water for weeks. It is seen that around 3 to 5 percent of typhoid affected people become carriers of the disease post acute attack. Often they remain unrecognized for years.
After eating contaminated food or water, typhoid bacteria enters the body and invades the small intestine thereby entering the blood circulation. The invading bacteria are taken by white blood cells to the spleen, liver and bone marrow where they further proliferate and re-enter the blood circulation.
Typhoid bacteria affect the biliary system, bowel’s lymphatic tissues and gall bladder and pass in large number in stools. The stool samples can be investigated for their presence, besides the blood samples.

What Are The Symptoms Of Typhoid During Pregnancy?

The period of incubation is around 1 to 2 weeks and the following symptoms are usually present:

  • High grade fever (103 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Generalized pains and aches
  • Lassitude or lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest congestion
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort

If you experience any of the above or similar symptoms immediately consult your obstetrician. The high grade fever becomes constant and is often accompanied with abdominal cramps.
typhoid vaccination

How Is Typhoid Treated During Pregnancy?

The treatment of enteric fever is mainly with antibiotics that destroy the Salmonella bacteria, but the use of antibiotics is restricted during pregnancy and this is the main problem with typhoid treatment during pregnancy. If you notice high grade fever immediately report it to your obstetrician for further diagnosis and proactive treatment.
If left untreated, typhoid fever might last for a month or even more so immediate treatment is very important. It becomes fatal and can cause death.
If fever is not treated, the symptoms worsen and the infected person may:

  • Lose weight
  • Develops rashes on abdomen and lower chest
  • Have a bloated belly

Can I Get Typhoid Vaccine During Pregnancy?

Typhoid vaccine can be taken orally or in an injectable form. Oral vaccine is not considered safe during pregnancy, though injectable ones can be safe. Insufficient research has been carried out on the subject. Moreover, typhoid vaccines do not provide full protection against the infection. However, babies after birth are vaccinated for typhoid fever within first year of their birth.

How Does Typhoid Affect My Baby?

Salmonella is notoriously famous for causing abortion especially if left untreated. The infection can reach the baby to potentially put you at a risk of miscarriage, pre-mature birth or a low birth weight baby. Septic and early second trimester abortions are often seen in typhoid affected pregnant women. Because most typhoid patients are restricted to liquid diet, there is a good chance that you and your baby miss out on healthy nutrition.
If the typhoid affected pregnant woman receives proper treatment the child born is usually healthy and safe.

What Precautions Can I Take Against Typhoid When I Am Pregnant?

Here is a gist of what to avoid if you want your pregnancy to be protected from the hazards of typhoid fever. Hygiene and personal cleanliness are very important aspects in the prevention of typhoid fever.

  1. Wash hands with soap and water before and after every meal
  2. Use a sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  3. Use boiled water for cooking and washing fruits and vegetables before cooking
  4. Eat well cooked food as heating kills bacteria
  5. Do not eat raw fruits and vegetables
  6. Avoid eating food items and beverages from the street vendors
  7. Use clean glasses and other utensils for drinking and eating food items
  8. Even ice can also be contaminated, so avoid taking ice from street vendors
  9. If you buy mineral water bottles, check whether they are sealed and the cap is properly intact
  10. Do not drink water from pots and public taps

What Are The Complications Of Typhoid?

Here are mentioned some serious health ailments that can result as complications of typhoid fever:

  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Liver failure

Less frequent complications include:

  • Lung problems
  • Cardiac problems
  • Bone and joints infections
  • Infections of urinary tract
  • Mental problems
  • Septic abortions
  • Premature delivery

Having typhoid in the past does not make you immune to it either, hence you need to ensure that you guard yourself from typhoid in pregnancy by maintaining eating and living hygiene.

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