When you talk to a woman, find
out if she is pregnant. A pregnant
woman’s gums can easily become
infected. The gums may bleed and
she may have more tooth decay.
But this does not have to happen.
If a pregnant woman takes extra
care of her teeth and gums, she can
prevent most dental problems. But
if she already has a problem, do not
wait for the baby’s birth before you
help her. You can treat a pregnant
woman’s mouth problems now. In
fact, this may be an important way of
protecting her baby as well (see pages
15 to 16).
Where There Is No Dentist 2012 77
Train midwives to examine
women’s mouths. When
they send women to you for
dental care, they can give
you helpful information
about the women’s health.
Caring for a pregnant woman—a guide for dental workers
1. Ask her how many months she has been
pregnant and find out if she has high blood
pressure. Any person with blood pressure over
150/100 may bleed excessively after extraction.
To get this information, encourage all women
to have regular check-ups with a midwife or a
trained health worker who has equipment for
measuring blood pressure.
2. Do not take X-rays of teeth unless absolutely
necessary. X-rays are dangerous to the unborn
baby inside. Before an X-ray, always cover the
mother’s chest, belly, and thighs with an apron
lined with lead.
3. Do not give her tetracycline or doxycycline while she is pregnant
4. Always give a careful and complete mouth examination. Tell her
what treatment she needs and how to prevent tooth problems.
5. Be gentle. Show the woman that you care, that you want her to
be comfortable, and that you can treat her without hurting her.