Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I be worried about my sister's staph infection if I am pregnant?"
I'm 7 months pregnant and live with my sister. She has been diagnosed with a staph infection. Is this contagious? Should I be worried that I can get it and then pass it on to the baby?
Pregnant women should also take great care of their health. There are a number of infections that can be dangerous in pregnancy. In particular, we tend to worry about certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites that can be passed across the placenta and cause damage to the fetus. Many of these are checked for routinely by your OB GYN doctor, and include things like syphilis, group B strep, rubella, etc. Additionally, the recommendations that pregnant women should avoid cleaning the cat litter box and avoid eating unpasteurized cheeses and cold cuts also stem from the desire to reduce the risk of passing infections to the fetus. Fortunately, staph is not one of the infections that is commonly passed through the placenta. In particular staph skin infections, which is likely what your sister has, do no pose any particular risk. Nevertheless, you do want to avoid getting infected! Therefore, you should wash your hands frequently, avoid sharing towels and other personal belongings with your sister, etc until the infection clears up. I recommend talking to your OBGYN for more information on how to take appropriate precautions.
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