ChickenPox in Pregnancy: What You Should Know

chickenpox in pregnancy

ChickenPox in Pregnancy: What You Should Know

If you have had chickenpox or have taken the chickenpox vaccination, chances are you are immune to the virus. But if you are not and do come down with chickenpox when pregnant you could be sick and also there is a small probability that it could affect the baby. The chance of the baby being affected depends primarily on the timing of you catching the virus.

chickenpox can be a little risky usually in the first and second trimester or more precisely within weeks 13 and 20.

What is it to have exposure to chickenpox when pregnant? Effect on you and your health:

In general chickenpox is more risky if you are infected as an adult. Adults could also develop chickenpox pneumonia which can be dangerous.

If pregnant, this complication could increase the chances of a preterm birth. You are more prone to developing pneumonia around the 3rd trimester of your pregnancy.

Effect of chickenpox on baby during pregnancy:

If pregnant (8-20 weeks) when you catch the virus here is what could happen – your baby could probably get the congenital varicella syndrome (CVS). The chances of that are slim though.

CVS could mean the baby having birth defects like incomplete brain development, skin scarring, malformed limbs, etc. Also she could grow poorly inside the womb and have seizures, physical or mental development disabilities.

It takes around 5 days for the antibodies to develop against chickenpox. These antibodies can cross the placental barrier into your baby who also then acquires some amount of protection. In case you acquire the infection an time between 5-21 days before EDD, the infection the baby may acquire shall not no serious due to the antibodies he acquires through the placenta.

Whereas if the infection occurs 5 days before delivery to 2 days after delivery, the baby may acquire a severe form of the disease known as neonatal varicella, which could be fatal if untreated.

Treatment of Chickenpox in pregnancy:

The treatment of chickenpox in pregnancy depends upon the stage of the pregnancy and your symptoms.

You might be asked to take an antiviral medicine called acyclovir, which is given within 24 hours of the chickenpox rash appearing. However this is given only when you’re pregnant for more than 20 weeks. This reduces the fever and other symptoms.

In case you are exposed to the virus and know that you are not yet immune, immediately check for further advice on monitoring your health and that of the foetus with your gynaecologist.

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