Pneumonia refers to a severe infection that occurs as the result of a lung infection. Pneumonia that happens during pregnancy is called maternal pneumonia. Generally, pneumonia started with a common cold or flu which gradually spreads to the lungs. If untreated, pneumonia can be life-threatening and pregnant women are more susceptible to complications. The infection can spread to one or both the lungs. The main causes of pneumonia are germs like virus, bacteria and fungi. In this infection the alveoli (air sacs) of the patient’s lungs are inflated with pus or fluids.

It is sometimes difficult to identify the pneumonia at early stage as it primarily starts off with flu-like symptoms. If conditions like a cold, sore throat, body aches, headache and chest pain worsen, it could potentially be pneumonia. However the symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on your overall health conditions, the type of germ causing the infection and your age. It is important to be familiar with the symptoms of pneumonia during pregnancy and consult your doctor immediately. Below are a few symptoms which can indicate pneumonia:
• Cold and flu-like symptoms, such as a headache a sore throat and body aches
• Feel difficulty during breathing or rapid breathing
• A fever or having chills
• A severe cough with a phlegm
• Chest congestion and severe pain
• Vomiting or severe nausea
• Loss of appetite
• Excessive fatigue
• A cough that gets worse

The natural immune system of a woman suppressed during pregnancy as her body works harder to support growing baby, so pregnant women may be more prone to the flu. She may also have reduced lung capacity. This makes them more susceptible to complications like pneumonia.

Maternal pneumonia can spreads in several ways. The bacteria and viruses found in airborne droplets transmitted due to sneezing and coughing, when directly inhaled can cause pneumonia. It can also transmit through blood, particularly during and shortly after birth. The below viral infections and complications can also lead to pneumonia:
• A viral or bacterial infection such as a cough or cold
• Varicella or chickenpox
• Respiratory distress syndrome
• Influenza (flu)
• Suppressed immune system during pregnancy can lead to susceptibility to pneumonia

Pneumonia is most likely to occur as the consequence of a bacterial infection that spreads to the lungs. It not only affects the health of the mother but also directly the health of the unborn baby. Due to pneumonia during pregnancy:
• Chances to give birth of a premature baby with low birth weight increases
• Pneumonia during the first trimester might increases the chances of miscarriage
• Chances of preterm labor increases
• It can also cause malformations in the newborn child
• It becomes even more dangerous, if pneumonia is accompanied by a very high body temperature
• In some cases, intrauterine and neonatal death also has been reported

If not diagnosed and treated earlier, maternal pneumonia can be fatal for mother as well as her child. You must contact an experienced gynecologists and infertility specialist for more about pneumonia during pregnancy and Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour is one of them you may consider.

Author's Bio: 

SCI Healthcare, Founder & Director Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour has experienced more than 10years in fertility services. Dr. Shivani Gour completed her graduation and speciality training in Gynaecology and Obstetrics from Mumbai.