By Dr. Pfaffenbach

Making sure you and your baby are healthy is our top priority here at Women’s Health Specialists. Here are a few ways to protect both you and baby from infections.

Avoid traveling to places known to have insects carrying diseases.

In Wisconsin, be sure to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside when ticks are active. Ticks are known to carry Lyme disease. If you are planning a vacation during pregnancy, be aware of the Zika virus and be sure to pack insect repellents. Take a look at this map to find out if your destination may have Zika virus. Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and essential oils are safe for pregnant women. The Zika virus can also be transmitted through a sexual partner so even if you do not travel, be cautious if your partner travels to a place with Zika and talk to your doctor about how to protect yourself and your baby.


Do not eat undercooked food, some soft cheeses and deli meat unless heated.

Some processed meats can contain harmful bacteria. Make sure your meat is thoroughly cooked with no pink inside. Meats like hot dogs, lunchmeats and deli meats should be heated until steaming hot to kill off any potentially harmful bacteria. Avoid eating sushi and fish with high mercury content such as tuna. Soft cheeses like chevre and brie can contain Listeria bacteria that can cause an infection called listeriosis.

Maintain good hygiene.

While it might seem obvious, be sure to wash your hands frequently to remove germs. Avoid people who are sick or have known illnesses such as chickenpox, whooping cough and influenza. Keep hand sanitizer nearby to use as needed, and sanitize door handles, your shopping cart and everyday items like your phone, computer keyboard and mouse.

Ask your doctor about Group B streptococcus (GBS).

GBS is a common type of bacteria that you may not know you have because it usually does not cause illness. However, it could affect your baby. But not to worry, your doctor will administer a test for GBS between weeks 35 and 37 of your pregnancy. If you test positive, you will likely be treated with an antibiotic during labor to prevent GBS from being passed to your baby.

Your Women’s Health Specialists physician will order routine blood and urine tests during your pregnancy to check for infection. If you are particularly concerned about specific infections, we are always available for you to ask questions as you navigate your pregnancy and beyond. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at (920) 749-4000.