For many women, being pregnant is a struggle in itself. From morning sickness to a bulging midsection to exhaustion and more, a pregnant woman does not want to add getting sick to that list. Suffering from strep throat while pregnant is probably the last thing anyone needs.
Unfortunately, soon-to-be moms are not immune to getting strep throat.
A Guide for Strep Throat During Pregnancy
What is strep throat ?
Not all sore throats are strep throat. Strep throat is caused by Streptococcus: it’s a bacterial infection in the throat and the tonsils. The infection results in inflammation and swelling in the mucus membranes that line the back of your throat, causing a sore throat.
How do you get strep throat? Is strep throat contagious?
Strep throat is easily passed from one person to the next, often through direct contact. The bacteria mainly take root in the mucus membranes of your nose, throat, and mouth, so it can easily travel via the airborne water droplets from sneezing or coughing.
The bacteria can also spread when you come in contact with an object that may have the bacteria on it, including keyboards, phones, doorknobs, and kitchen utensils. Strep throat may also be transmitted via food that has been contaminated by the bacteria, though these foodborne outbreaks are not nearly as common.
What are the symptoms for strep throat ?
it is important to be aware of the different signs of strep throat while pregnant. There are a few signs that can help women figure out if what they have is strep throat or not. Some symptoms to be on the lookout for are:
- a sudden and severe sore throat
- swollen or reddened tonsils
- pain when you swallow
- white or yellow dots around the tonsil area
- swollen throat and/or tonsils
- fever over 101°F (38.3°C)
- feeling cold or sweating
- feeling nauseous
- loss of appetite
- any type of abdominal pain
- difficulty breathing
As you can see, some of these symptoms (such as nausea or tiredness) are common during pregnancy, so it is more difficult for a pregnant woman to know for sure if she needs to go to the doctor. Also, it is possible that you will not have each and every symptom stated above but any combination of the symptoms would be a good reason to see your doctor.
Can strep throat be dangerous in pregnancy? Will it hurt my baby?
For the mother, the disease can pass without consequences, but the fetus is at great risk. While these occurences are rare, the raised temperature and bacterial intoxication can have an influence on the unborn child’s condition.
Medications also represent another danger. Most drugs are contraindicated during pregnancy. Thus, the treatment of strep throat while pregnant requires a lot of time and effort because strong drugs are out of the question.
When bacteria and viruses attack the respiratory system the content of oxygen in the blood becomes less. Fetal hypoxia develops, and the risk of premature birth increases. Strep throat in early pregnancy requires an immediate consultation with a medical expert.
Don’t self-medicate! The organs and systems of the fetus haven’t been fully formed yet, so any toxic impact can lead to developmental anomalies or lead to a miscarriage.
What does strep throat look like?
You might see white dots or patches in the back of your throat. Your tonsils (the bumps on either side at the back of your throat) might be red and swollen, too. There might be tiny red spots on the back of the roof of the mouth, an extreme rash (known as Scarlet Fever) and swollen lymph nodes (right below the earlobes) are common visual symptoms of this infection.
How long does strep throat last?
Most antibiotic treatments for strep throat last about 10 days. Even after the pregnant woman starts to feel better, they should finish all their pills. You can leave some bacteria alive if you stop too soon. If strep is not fully treated, it might lead to complications such as:
- Rheumatic fever, which can damage the heart, brain, and joints
- Kidney problems
- Sinus and tonsil infections
How do I treat strep throat?
If the symptoms of strep throat while pregnant worsen and the condition of the mother doesn’t improve, the doctor prescribes mild medications. The main groups of medicines used for treating strep throat while pregnant are:
- Antiseptics for cleaning the throat
- Antipyretics for the fever
- Cough drops with anti-inflammatory effect
- Antibiotics (if absolutely necessary)
How do I avoid strep throat?
Future mothers should pay special attention to the strengthening of their immune system and eliminate every strep throat development factor.
Health professionals recommend following these simple rules:
- Abstain from cold drinks and ice-cream, especially in winter
- Get your own mug, fork, spoon. Thoroughly wash the dishes before using them
- Buy an air humidifier
- Avoid physical contact with sick people, don’t go to public places during flu epidemics
- Brush your teeth twice every day, and pay regular visits to a dentist
Can you get strep throat without tonsils?
One common belief is that no tonsils means fewer infections. After all, your tonsils can’t get infected if they are not even there in the first place. One of the most common ailments of the throat is strep throat. It accounts for about 15 percent of all sore throats. Even without tonsils, you can still get strep throat.
Is strep throat a sign of pregnancy?
No. Strep throat is not a sign of pregnancy.
You can’t underestimate the seriousness of such a disease as strep throat while pregnant. If you’ve noticed some alarming symptoms, turn to a doctor immediately! Self-treatment and diagnostics often lead to serious complications, as I mentioned above, like miscarriage or anomalies.