Risks Of Chickenpox During Pregnancy

Submitted by Nick on January 18, 2012

Pregnancy makes a woman very susceptible to a lot of sickness and infections. Pregnant women have to be very careful during these 9 months of their life. A pregnant mother has to be strong and healthy in order to ensure that she has a healthy baby growing in her womb. Any kind of infection or sickness can cause a lot of complications to the pregnancy. If a woman gets chicken pox during her pregnancy then she has to take a lot of care so that it doesn't affect the child health and development.


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Chicken pox is a highly infectious disease caused by the varicella virus. Some of the symptoms are; fever and an itchy feeling all over which forms blisters. It takes about 2 weeks to recover from this infection.

Once you recover the blisters get compressed and eventually fade away. If a pregnant woman has been infected by chickenpox in the past or is immunized, her body has antibodies to the virus that automatically gets passed on to the child thus making the child immune to the virus as well.

In such cases the mother need not worry about contacting chickenpox and having complications during her pregnancy. However if the mother has not had chicken pox in the past then a lot of care has to be taken in order to avoid being exposed to the virus during pregnancy.

There amount of risks chicken pox can cause depends on the stage during which it affects the mother.

  • If a pregnant woman contracts chickenpox during 8 to 12 weeks or any time in the first trimester of the pregnancy then there is a risk of the baby developing congenital varicella syndrome. This causes birth defects such as scars on the skin, eye problems, deformed limbs, a small head, low birth weight and even makes the baby mentally unstable.
  • If this virus is contracted any time in the week before the delivery then there is a risk is of developing disseminated varicella infection. This infection occurs before the newborn can receive the antibodies from the mother. This can be very risky as the baby is born with chickenpox and in a few cases it leads to death.
  • Even pregnant mothers are at risk when they contract chickenpox. Many surveys prove that 10% develop pneumonia that attacks their immune system and could even lead to death. It could also affect other parts of their bodies such as the liver, the brain, the appendix, the kidneys, the pancreas and the heart muscles.
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