14.3 Hygiene during pregnancy
During pregnancy, women should be especially careful about personal hygiene. Pregnant women sweat more and have more vaginal discharge than non-pregnant women (due to hormonal changes), and they may be more vulnerable to infection by germs in the environment. Keeping the body clean helps prevent infection. Hand washing with soap is the most important hygiene action she can take, especially before preparing food and after going to the toilet. If possible, a pregnant woman should wash her body every day with clean water — especially her genital area.
Dental hygiene is especially important during pregnancy because increased oestrogen levels can cause swelling and increased sensitivity in gum tissues. Whether she cleans her teeth with a dental stick or a toothbrush and toothpaste, the pregnant woman should do so regularly.