In this article, I am going to give you the reason why you do not have to worry about being a carrier of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) in pregnancy. You will learn that 20% of pregnant women have MRSP and physicians are creating unnecessary anxiety about you being a carrier.
Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and pregnancy is a great concern for many expecting mothers. However, according to pediatric infectious disease researchers in Vanderbilt, fears that mothers carrying MRSA may give their newborn babies the infection are unfounded.
MRSA is a bacterium that can cause infections in various parts of the body. It is harder to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus (staph) as it is resistant to commonly used antibiotics such as penicillin, methicillin, amoxicillin and oxacillin.
The senior author of the recent study, Buddy Creech, M.D, MPH, stated that his research is directed at the recent trend of checking the presence of MRSA by swabbing the noses of both pregnant women, and newborn babies.
“A significant amount of MRSA was being found by Obstetricians. Even in our study, we discovered that 20% of pregnant women will have the infection, as will 20% of babies at eight weeks. A great deal of anxiety seems to exist about what that exactly means and what physicians are meant to do about it,” Creech said.
According to Creech, these concerns are partly coming from the fears obstetricians have about another bacteria, Group B strep, which poses a serious risk to babies. During birth or pregnancy, Group B strep is transmitted from the mother to her baby through a process called “vertical transmission.” It is common practice for the majority of states to test women for Group B strep in their third trimester because eliminating it at that time can save infants lives.
The theoretical danger during pregnancy is that mothers might similarly transmit MRSA to their babies. Therefore, labs have started to inform physicians when MRSA has been detected with the routine testing for Group B strep in pregnant women.
Over 500 women in Memphis and Nashville took part in the study of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and pregnancy. Vaginal and nasal swabs were collected and tested at regular intervals, which included at the time of delivery, to check for the presence of MRSA bacteria. Babies were also swabbed when they reached 2 and 4 months of age as well as at birth.
The results indicated that the transmission of MRSA bacteria from mother to child was apparent in very few cases. However, when a baby reached 2 months, they matched their mother’s carrier status very closely. This might indicate that a mother, who is carrying S. aureus bacteria in her nose, will give it to her infant and her infant will become colonized thanks to close contact. This usually occurs within 6 to 8 weeks after birth. When this happens, it is called horizontal transmission.
Creech said that describing the mode and timing of transmission is important, but the most significant thing to take away from the research, is that rarely do babies become ill with MRSA infections.
Therefore, in response to the question, “When MRSA colonization is detected in pregnant women, what should be done?” It might be surprising to hear Creech say that the best action is often no action at all.