February marks international prenatal infection prevention month, a worldwide initiative aimed at raising awareness of infections transmitted from mother to child.

How does an infection reach the womb? Pathogens or germs are commonly spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person or agent, and can be transmitted vertically from the mother, through the placenta, to the fetus.

Prenatal infections include but are not limited to group B strep (GBS) disease, congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), parvovirus or fifth disease, chlamydia, gonorrhea, listeriosis, toxoplasmosis, and Zika virus disease.

When a pregnant person contracts certain infections, the infection can cross the placenta and affect the developing fetus, leading to congenital infections.

Fortunately, in many cases, prenatal infections can be prevented. This is achievable through adopting healthy pregnancy behaviours, such as proper and frequent handwashing. Proper hand hygiene is an effective measure to prevent transmission of many types of prenatal infections. Healthcare providers play a key role in informing their patients about preventive measures that they can take to reduce the risk.

The link between prenatal infections and congenital infections is significant, with ultrasound examinations playing a crucial role. Prenatal infections can serve as precursors to congenital infections, and through ultrasound assessments, healthcare professionals can monitor and detect the growth and development of the fetus, detect anomalies, and the potential impact of factors, such as infections. Ultrasound is an invaluable tool for early diagnosis, facilitating timely management and guiding effective care.

Access ISUOG’s bank of resources on congenital infections for more information about the types of infections and the role that ultrasound plays in their diagnosis and management.


ISUOG Patient Information leaflets on congenital infections. These materials are written and reviewed by medical professionals, aiming to help patients understand the infections, the testing requirements, and the implications of a diagnosis.

ISUOG Practice Guidelines on the role of ultrasound in congenital infection discusses the role of ultrasound in the diagnosis and management of congenital infection, the ultrasound signs and the prognostic value of ultrasound findings.

VISUOG chapters on Congenital Infections. VISUOG is our Visual Encyclopedia available exclusively to members which aims to provide medical professionals with up-to-date information on the clinical use of ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology that is accurate, evidence based, and aligned with the latest advancements in the field.

Access all 200+ VISUOG chapters with ISUOG membership, and use code VISUOG10 for a 10% discount. 


If you’re visual learner and enjoy speaker videos, Prof. Asma Khalil presents part of the new ISUOG Guidelines on the role of ultrasound in congenital infection on our YouTube channel.


De Rose DU et al. Editorial: Congenital and perinatal infections: How to prevent sequelaes in neonates and children. Front Pediatr. 2023;11:1142636.