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West Florida Hospital
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Diagnosis of Infection in Pregnancy

The content below is part of the “Health Library” and is not indicative of services available at the facility.

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

The tests you will have depend on your symptoms, medical history, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and what infection is suspected. The following tests may be done to find out whether you or your developing baby has an infection:

  • Blood test—Your blood is checked for the number of white blood cells and the presence of specific antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that your body has made to fight an infection. It is also tested for group B streptococcus and harmful substances called antigens that cause the body to produce antibodies.
  • Culture—Your rectum and/or cervix and vagina will be gently swabbed to see if an infection is present. Cultures will also be taken of your urine and blood. The swab will then be examined under a microscope.
  • Ultrasound —A device held over the abdomen will bounce sound waves off the uterus and your developing baby. The sound waves make electrical impulses that create a picture of the baby on a video monitor. This helps check for any fetal abnormalities that might indicate an infection (usually viral) in the mother.
  • Urinalysis—This is a test to check for bacteria in the urine. After you urinate into a cup, your healthcare provider will use a specially treated paper strip to check for bacteria in the urine. Urine can also be sent to a laboratory to identify a specific bacteria.
  • Amniocentesis—A test that removes a sample of the fluid surrounding your baby. Rarely, this fluid may be examined to determine if you have chorioamnionitis. The fluid may also be tested for congenital infections such as toxoplasmosis and parvovirus B19.
  • Chest x-ray (rare)—A test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the chest. An abdominal shield is used to protect your developing baby

Revision Information

  • Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/bacterialvaginosis-2.html. Updated August 2015. Accessed June 20, 2016.

  • Chickenpox. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com. Updated September 8, 2015. Accessed June 20, 2016.

  • Chorioamnionitis. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases%5Fconditions/hic%5FAm%5FI%5FPregnant/hic%5FPremature%5FLabor/hic%5FChorioamnionitis. Updated October 18, 2012. Accessed June 20, 2016.

  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and congenital CMV infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/cmv/index.html. Updated July 28, 2010. Accessed June 20, 2016.

  • Group B Strep (GBS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/index.html. Updated May 23, 2016. Accessed June 20, 2016.

  • Listeria and pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/listeria.html. Updated August 2015. Accessed June 20, 2016.

  • Pregnancy and fifth disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/parvovirusB19/pregnancy.html. Updated November 2, 2015. Accessed June 20, 2016.

  • STDs during pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/default.htm. Updated February 24, 2016. Accessed June 20, 2016.

  • Toxoplasmosis. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis.html. Updated May 2014. Accessed June 20, 2016.

  • Urinary tract infection during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/utiduringpreg.html. Updated August 2015. Accessed June 20, 2016.