What Are Pinworms? How Do they Spread in Pregnancy?

Pinworms are parasites that live in the intestinal tract of humans. Adult worms are white in color and appear like tiny thread strands and so, they are also known as threadworms. They can grow up to 5 or 10 mm and can be spotted as moving white specks in the stools. It may sound gross, but pregnancy brings in some unpleasant experiences as well. If constant itching close to the vagina or anus bothers you, then it could indicate pinworm infection.

Pinworms in Pregnancy

Although pinworms are not exclusive to pregnant women, the chances of being infected is more in expecting women. It is mainly caused because of parasitic presence in the household. These threadworms easily spread from one person to the other by contact, either directly or indirectly. And, if one member of the family is infected, others might catch the infection as well. Poor hygiene is the main reason behind the spread.

How Pinworms Spread During Pregnancy?

Pinworms can survive in the intestines for almost six weeks. Once mature, the adult female threadworm makes its way out of the anus to deposit eggs near the vaginal area, causing you to itch. These eggs can be spread by the infected persons, if they touch any surfaces or other persons after itching the area affected. Infection usually arises from little children in the family and they could pass it on to other members.

Pinworms in Pregnancy

Household Items

Pinworm eggs can easily land on personal items used by the infected persons when they touch them after itching their anal area, such as tooth brushes, bed linens, clothes, towels and carpets. Other general objects the eggs get deposited on include combs, bathroom utilities, kitchen utensils, furniture and potentially any thing that is touched, including another person.

Ingestion

Pinworm eggs present on the surfaces can live up to three weeks. A person upon touching these surfaces, can get the eggs transferred onto his/her hands. And when he/she touches the mouth with his/her hand, the eggs can get ingested and infect the person.

Children

Children are mostly the first to be infected as they cannot maintain proper hygiene all the time. Infection may continue in toddlers for longer periods, because they are more likely to ingest eggs. If expecting mothers have children already, then they may catch infection from their kids.

Crowd

Crowded places can cause infection to spread easily. Having guests at home when you are pregnant, may also be a cause for catching pinworm infection from them, if they are already infected.

Inhaling

Pinworm eggs may get inhaled, if they rise in the air when you shake your linens or dust any surface, leading to infection.

Pets

Pets and animals do not get infected with threadworms like humans. But, some of the eggs which may have made their way onto the animal’s fur, may get transferred to you when you touch them.

In all these cases poor hygiene is the main cause of pinworm infection.

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