Photo Credit - Janice Carr Public Health Image Library

Photo Credit – Janice Carr Public Health Image Library

A recent article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine about bacterial infections in pregnant women with diabetes is a must-read for pregnant women. According to the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, pregnant women with diabetes are three times more likely to develop a hospital-acquired infection called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus commonly known as MRSA which can be deadly.

Germs are invisible to the naked eye and we all carry some forms of them in our body and on our skin. Up to 30% of people may have staph aureus (“staph”)  but it does no harm unless they get a cut or scrape. The deeper the bacteria get into the body, the more dangerous it becomes because staph has become resistant to antibiotics that were formerly used to treat it. There are three specific groups of people that are at risk for acquiring MRSA:

  1. People who are in hospitals
  2. People who were recently in the hospital or have ongoing contact with medical clinics, dialysis units or treatment centers that provide chemotherapy
  3. People who live in communities

Essentially, we are all at risk for developing MRSA but pregnant diabetic women who go into labor or are hospitalized are three times more at risk than non-diabetic pregnant women. The good news is that the risks of developing MRSA can be greatly reduced by taking simple precautions such as hand washing with soap and water for at least 15 to 30 seconds. If soap and water is not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a good alternative with special attention given to fingernails, areas between the fingers and the wrists. Technology now plays a huge role in promoting a germ-free hospital. Staff members can be monitored to determine whether they wash their hands before entering a patient’s room and the length of time they’ve washed their hands through radio-frequency devices placed at sinks and on their badges.

If you have gestational diabetes, it might not be a bad idea to check out your prospective hospital’s infection rate through the Joint Commission, which is an agencies that regulates hospitals and ask whether the hospital has hand-washing-detection-technology. Becoming proactive about this issue, could potentially save your life.