Effect of Chickenpox During Pregnancy

Submitted by Nick on January 18, 2012

Chickenpox is a viral illness caused by the varicella virus. It is considered to be a highly contagious virus. Some of the symptoms you may notice when infected by the chickenpox virus are; you will first get high fever followed by itchy blisters all over your body. You will also have a continuous sick feeling. It takes about 2 weeks to recover from chicken pox. As you recover the blisters get compressed and fade away. It is not a fatal illness but is more severe in adults than children. There is a common belief that chickenpox is an illness that happens only in childhood however it can occur in adults as well.

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Although rare it is even more dangerous when it happens to pregnant women. The effects of chickenpox during pregnancy can be very fatal to both the mother and the child.

From the time a woman gets pregnant her immune system gets very weak so she can contract any illness easily.


Hence it is important for pregnant women to eat health and take extra care of them selves. Since the immune system is weak the body find it difficult to fight off certain viruses including the chicken pox virus. If pregnant women contract chicken pox then they can become very ill and in some cases even die due to this infection. The infection could spread to the mother's lungs which can cause a life threatening illness like pneumonia. Since chicken pox has such severe effects on the mother very often she is admitted to the hospital so that she can be under proper observation and treatment. The good news is that with the advancements in medicine today there are antiviral drugs that are specially designed to treat the infection and have proved to be safe during pregnancy.

In many cases the baby is born healthy even though the mother had chicken pox. However if the mother contracted the virus in the early stages of the pregnancy it can affect the fetus in many ways and cause serious birth defects such as deformed arms, legs, skin scars, eye problems, mental retardation, prematurity, and early death. If the mother contracted the virus anytime during the week before her delivery or even two to three days after the virus could be transmitted to the baby making it very ill. In such cases the doctor administers a dose of anti-varicella antibodies in order to help fight off any infection.

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