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Home > Education Center > Be Around People with Chicken Pox

Being Around People with Chicken Pox While Pregnant

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Be Around People with the Chicken PoxA simple case of the chicken pox may not seem very serious to some. After all, as children, it was a rite of passage. Our mothers wanted us to get the illness and often encouraged us to be around those who had it. It makes sense that they were so intent on us getting sick, because chicken pox is much harder for an adult to recover from. Thanks to our mothers most adults have already had the chicken pox. Those who have not may have received the vaccine for it. If you have had either of these, then you are immune to the disease and have no reason for concern.

You need not worry during pregnancy either. As long as you have the antibodies in your system, your baby is protected. You don’t have to hide away from people with the chicken pox. It is perfectly safe to be around them.

If you have not had the chicken pox or its vaccine, however, then you have serious cause for concern. You should avoid those with the chicken pox as if they had the plague. A case of chicken pox during pregnancy causes serious risk to both the mother and her baby. If chicken pox is contracted during the first trimester, the baby has an increased risk of being born with birth defects or mental retardation. In the third trimester, chicken pox can cause varicella pneumonia in the mother. Varicella pneumonia is a life threatening infection that infects the lungs. If for some reason a woman contracts the disease very late in pregnancy, during the last five days before birth or the first two days after, the baby has a good chance of contracting the disease as well. Chicken pox in a baby that is less than two weeks old is life threatening. It carries a 25% mortality rate.

There is some good news, however. Women who contract the chicken pox during pregnancy can and should be treated with an antiviral drug. They are shown to be safe for pregnant women. There are treatments available for newborns that contract the disease as well. If you have been exposed to the chicken pox, and do not carry the antibodies for it, it is best to see your doctor right away.

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