February is International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month, an observance to promote awareness of infections transmitted from mother to baby. Prenatal infections include bacterial or viral illnesses that can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or during the delivery process. Due to the serious consequences for mother and baby, prenatal infection prevention is a critical component of maternal and child health promotion.
As an adjunct to good health, WIC staff can help increase awareness among pregnant women about infections that can potentially be passed from mother to the unborn child, and inform them about the simple steps they can take to protect their unborn child or newborn from infections that cause serious health problems.
Resources for Sharing
The CDC offers a collection page dedicated to common infections mom may encounter during pregnancy (available in Spanish), these include Zika, Strep, Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Listeriosis. Find a number of downloadable resources and handouts (many available in Spanish), useful links and information about how a mom can protect her fetus or newborn from these infections.
Women who are HIV positive are at higher risk for other infections that can also pass from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. The Office of Women’s Health offers both basic and in-depth HIV/AIDS information and resources related to how women can prevent, be tested for and manage the disease. This web page is also available in Spanish. HIV.gov shares federal resources related to HIV and COVID-19.
WIC staff can provide women who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS with important information and education on nutrition, infant nutrition, and food safety as well as referrals to health care and other social services. WIC State agencies can review WIC Nutrition Risk Criteria 352b Infectious Diseases - Chronic to see how WIC nutrition services can help improve the health and birth outcomes of participants with HIV/AIDS.
Share information on COVID-19 including the difference between the flu and COVID-19, CDC considerations for COVID-19 vaccination while pregnant and breastfeeding, and steps to take to protect against the virus, such as:
- handwashing (including podcasts, videos and printable fact sheets available in Spanish and other languages - the When and How resource is available in multiple languages)
- Wearing a mask considerations for wearing a mask,
- Protecting yourself while pregnant, breastfeeding or caring for a newborn, including caring for newborns when mom has COVID-19 (available in multiple languages).
Influenza virus activity, which typically spreads in fall and winter, peaks between December and February. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, but can also cause complications, some of which can be life threatening.
HHS, Office on Women's Health