Other types of care

Dental care

You can see a dentist during pregnancy, but be sure to let him or her know you’re expecting.

Generally speaking, there is no problem with receiving dental care during pregnancy. However, your dentist may suggest that non-emergency treatments be postponed until after delivery.

Eye care

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make your eyes dry and cause discomfort. Your optometrist can recommend the appropriate treatment.

Your vision can also fluctuate while you are pregnant, which means your glasses or contact lenses may no longer be suitable for your vision. If this is inconvenient, you can consult an optometrist to obtain a temporary prescription.

Your vision will stabilize in the months after the birth. It is advisable to wait six to nine months after delivery or until you stop breastfeeding before obtaining a new prescription.

However, if you experience sudden vision loss, or if your vision suddenly becomes double or blurry, you should see a doctor promptly (see Severe headaches, upper abdominal pain, or sudden changes in vision).

X-rays

You may occasionally require x-rays during pregnancy. If you need to have an x-ray, be sure to tell your doctor or dentist that you are pregnant. He or she will be able to determine whether the benefits of the x-ray outweigh the risks for you and your fetus. If you do have an x-ray, tell the medical technician that you are pregnant so that he or she takes all possible safety precautions, like having you wear a lead apron, for example.

At your first prenatal visit, let your health professional know if you had any x-rays before learning you were pregnant.

Vaccines

Flu (influenza) vaccine

Pregnant women in the second and third trimester are more likely to suffer flu complications or be hospitalized. They may also transmit the flu to their baby. That is why it is recommended that you get the flu vaccine if you are 13 weeks pregnant or more. If you have a chronic health condition, you should get the flu vaccine as soon as possible, regardless of your stage of pregnancy.

Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract that can be serious for young babies. It is recommended that pregnant women be vaccinated against pertussis. The vaccine is usually given between 26 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. It protects you and your baby during the first few months of baby’s life. The vaccine must be repeated for each pregnancy.

Depending on your condition, other vaccines may be recommended to you during your pregnancy or after delivery.

Contact with people with a contagious disease

Essential information to rememberIf you feel sick or have any physical signs that suggest you’ve caught one of these diseases, see a doctor promptly. As a precautionary measure, inform the healthcare facility before you arrive.

Some pregnant women may come into contact with people, especially children, who have contagious diseases.

If you don’t feel sick but you think you have been in contact with someone who has a contagious disease, here is some advice for how to deal with certain diseases.

Pertussis (whooping cough)

If you’ve been in contact with someone who has pertussis (whooping cough) in the 4 weeks before your due date, see a doctor.

Fifth disease (also known as erythema infectiosum or parvovirus B19 infection)

Thanks to their antibodies, over half of pregnant women in North America are protected against fifth disease, and so are their fetus.

If an unprotected pregnant woman contracts fifth disease, there is a chance the fetus may become infected. In rare cases, the fetus could become severely anaemic and the mother could miscarry.

The risk of complications is greatest before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The risk is much lower after.

If you come into contact with someone with fifth disease, talk to your health professional. He or she will be able to assess your situation.

Rubella (German measles)

Rubella, or German measles, can cause complications for the pregnancy and the fetus. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll come into contact with someone who has this disease. Thanks to vaccination, rubella is very rare in Québec and the rest of Canada. If you think you have been in contact with the disease, see a doctor.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious disease. Pregnant women with measles can have a more serious form of the disease. They also are at greater risk of miscarrying or not carrying their baby to term. There have been no reported cases of congenital defect due to measles, however.

If you think you have measles or have been in contact with a person with measles, promptly contact your doctor, CLSC, or Info-Santé to have someone assess your situation.

Chickenpox

When chickenpox is contracted by a pregnant woman it can cause complications for the mother and baby. The childhood vaccination for chickenpox reduces the risk of exposure for pregnant women. Here is what you should do if you come into contact with a person with chickenpox:

  • If you have already had chickenpox, you can rest assured that your baby is at no risk.
  • If you’ve never had chickenpox or aren’t sure if you’ve had it, see a doctor within 48 hours. If you were born in North America, there is a more than 90% chance that you are protected.
  • If you aren’t protected against chickenpox, you will be given antibodies to help keep you from getting the disease or reduce its intensity if you do get it.

Other contagious diseases

If you come into contact with a person with one of the following contagious diseases, there is no particular danger for your pregnancy or your baby: roseola, hand‑foot-mouth disease and scarlet fever.

However, if you are sick and you have any symptoms that may be caused by a contagious disease, see a doctor.

If you are worried you had sexual relations that put you at risk of sexually transmitted infection (STI) during your pregnancy, don’t hesitate to tell your health professional. He or she may suggest screening (see Vaginal swabs). STI screening is confidential.

At all times, info-Santé can advise you on what to do. Just dial 8-1-1.


Anemia: Condition that can lead to severe fatigue, often caused by a lack of iron in the blood.

Antibodies: Substances made by the body to fight off disease. Also called immunoglobulins.

Fetus: Developmental stage of a human being in its mother’s womb, from 10 weeks of pregnancy until birth.

Miscarriage: A spontaneous abortion, which can have a variety of causes (e.g., a deformity or disease).

Sexually transmitted infection (STI): Infection caused by a bacteria or virus transmitted through sexual contact.