Prompting parent prenatal infection prevention using the mnemonic “HYGIENE”

Prompting parent prenatal infection prevention using the mnemonic “HYGIENE”

James A. McGregor (1,2), Marti Perhach (1), Amy Perhach (1)

(1) Group B Strep International; (2) LA Best Babies Network

In developed countries, up to 24% of stillbirths have been attributed to infection. Infection is estimated to contribute to nearly half of stillbirths in developing countries. Prenatal infection can be caused by a wide variety of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Our goal is to help parents avoid prenatal infections.

A. We listed routes of prenatal infection.
B. We listed microorganisms that can commonly cause prenatal infection.
C. We identified behaviours that could help reduce the risk of prenatal infection.

A. We created a mnemonic to remind parent of behavioral changes that can help avoid the many types of prenatal infections:
H – Handwashing
Y – Yes to prenatal care
G – Good food prepared safely
I – Immunizations
E – Evade others’ bodily fluids
N – No to unnecessary invasive procedures
E – Environmental precautions

B. We share this mnemonic on a poster with a companion handout (suitable for providers to give their patients) detailing specific behavioral changes and the type of infection that the behavior could help prevent.
C. This mnemonic has been subjectively welcomed by parents and perinatal healthcare providers.

Giving parents easily understood behaviors/habits to help avoid the risk of prenatal infection can be studied in future controlled trials with the goals of a) reducing infection/inflammation morbidity and mortality and b) determining if this a better prevention strategy than overwhelming parents with unexamined ways to prevent the multiple types of prenatal infection.

Ethics statement

No patients were involved. No institutional consent required/obtained.

International Stillbirth Alliance, Annual Conference on Perinatal Mortality and Bereavement Care, Madrid, Spain. October 5-6th, 2019.

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