Doing more for mums to be’s health

Being a new mum brings so many questions. Find easy ways to prepare yourself, your family and your home for your new baby. We have taken the thinking and worrying out of making sure your home is clean and ready for your new addition.

Your Home Environment

Your Home EnvironmentDuring pregnancy, you can be more vulnerable to infections, and exposure to certain germs and infections can be particularly harmful for you and your baby. You will want to take special care to prevent the spread of germs at home, to help you and your baby stay healthy.

You can learn tips on how to help prevent harmful germs spreading around your home and protect yourself and your family in Healthy Homes.

Flu During Pregnancy

Most people who catch flu only have mild symptoms and recover quickly. However, flu can be more serious for pregnant women. If you do get flu, telephone your GP promptly for advice.

Flu Prevention Tips for Pregnant Women

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially after coming in contact with someone who may be sick.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser to destroy the germs on your hands if soap and water are not available.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect hand contact surfaces, such as door handles, taps and toilet flushes, to help destroy flu germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and teach others to cover their coughs and sneezes too.
  • Put your used tissues in a bin and wash your hands thoroughly afterwardsy.
  • Avoid close contact with someone who is sick; ask other family or friends to look after someone who is ill.
  • During a flu epidemic, try to avoid unnecessary travel and crowded places.

If You Get the Flu

If you think you may have flu and you are pregnant, contact your GP promptly. Your GP will advise you what to do. In addition, if you have flu the usual advice from the Health Protection Agency (2011) is to:

  • Stay at home and keep away from others as much as possible.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, such as water.
  • Before taking any medicines, read the label or check with your pharmacist or GP whether they are safe to use during pregnancy.

Preventing Infections During Pregnancy

These tips can help you avoid infections that could harm you and your unborn baby.

1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially -

After:

  • Using the toilet.
  • Touching raw food, such as poultry, fish, meat or eggs.
  • Touching a contaminated area (e.g. a dirty cleaning cloth, drain, soil).
  • Handling pets, other animals, or their associated equipment.
  • Contact with blood or body fluids (e.g. vomit, faeces, nasal secretions).
  • Being around someone whopeople who are is illsick.

Before:

  • Handling food or eating
  • Applying contact lenses
  • Caring for someone who is particularly vulnerable to infections
  • Dressing a wound, giving medicine or applying a medical device (e.g. catheter).

2. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitiser.

If you cannot get to a sink, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser to help destroy the germs on your hands.

3. Avoid touching or changing dirty cat litter.

If your cat has to use a litter tray, ask someone else to change the litter. If you have to change the litter yourself, wear disposable rubber gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. You should wear gloves and wash your hands after gardening too. Cat faeces may contain a harmful parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.

4. Stay away from lambs and sheep during the lambing season.

Avoid close contact with sheep during the lambing season and contact with the clothing of people involved in lambing. Sheep can carry germs that cause infections such as toxoplasmosis, chlamydiosis and listeriosis, which may cause miscarriage.

All About Allergens

During pregnancy, you will experience many changes. If you have allergies, these may be causing problems too.

Learning more about the allergens that can trigger your symptoms may help. There are strategies that you can follow to help you reduce levels of some of the most common allergens (e.g. pollen, house dust mites and pet dander) in your home.

It is important to stay as comfortable as possible during your pregnancy. If your allergy symptoms are unbearable, getting worse or interfering with your life, contact your GP to discuss possible solutions that are safe during your pregnancy.