How Pregnancy Affects Your Immune System

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Pregnancy is a miracle and a special time in a woman's life, but it can take a toll on her body in many ways. It doesn't end with morning sickness! Pregnancy can affect the immune system as well--in good ways and bad. The immune system is now working overtime to protect 2 lives, but it can also become easier for a normally healthy pregnant woman to get sick.

The body relies on many layers of defense when fighting potential infections, and during pregnancy, your body increases disease-fighting cells to protect you as well as your unborn baby.

Pregnancy brings an increase in cells that destroy bacteria, though it does not guarantee against infection. When your immune system is normal, your body easily fights off bacteria and can avoid infection. But the decrease in some "natural killer" white blood cells leads a pregnant woman to catch infections where she normally wouldn't. The cells in a pregnant woman's body also have a harder time working together to fight infections.

Although pregnancy will affect your immune system and make you more prone to sickness, you can fight back! The following are simple ways to boost your immune system:

  • Try to control stress
  • Get as much sleep as possible
  • Eat a healthy, vitamin-packed diet

Keep a close relationship with your doctor throughout your pregnancy, and don't hesitate to call with questions or to schedule an appointment.

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