Cellulitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the skin. Most often, the bacteria responsible for the infection is Staphylococcus.
Cellulitis starts on broken, swollen or cracked skin. Typically the infections are found on feet and legs, but they can start anywhere on the body. When pregnant, swelling associated with fluid retention can increase the risk of developing cellulitis.
Symptoms of cellulitis include swollen, red, tender skin that may feel warm to the touch. A fever may accompany the infection.
Treating cellulitis requires antibiotics, so pregnant women will need to work with their obstetrician to find an antibiotic that is safe for use during pregnancy and effective against the bacteria causing cellulitis. Once cured, preventing a new infection requires daily washing of the injury site, daily moisturizing, and application of an over-the-counter antibiotic cream.
There have been an increasing number of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus cases reported. Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus infections are also known as MRSA. If cellulitis is caused by MRSA, treating the infection can be far more difficult. Talk to your obstetrician to discuss options for treating MRSA.