Pregnancy is the time of a woman’s life when safety and precautions is the key. You have to be very careful about the environment and the people you are exposed to – To keep yourself and the baby safe from a lot of diseases.
One such fear during pregnancy is that of getting chicken pox! Being a very contagious disease, Chicken pox can prove to be harmful not only for you but for the baby too.
Let us know all what should be about chicken pox in pregnancy and plan our safety beforehand!
What is Chicken Pox?
Chicken pox is a viral illness caused by varicella zoster virus. It is like an infection which causes rashes all over the body causing small itchy blisters which after a period of time themselves dry up and fall off. It is highly contagious and almost takes a month or two to recover from.
What are the Symptoms of Chicken Pox in Pregnancy?
Chicken pox is a highly contagious disease and can be transferred from touch of people and air. Typically caused by a touch of a person who is having chicken pox or through the air droplets of the varicella virus, Chicken pox has earlier symptoms of:
- Back and stomach pain
- Itchy body
- Burning sensation in the inside
- Sometimes fever
The chicken pox typically is visible within a week or sometimes a couple of days of getting infected. The blisters start popping on the skin from back, face or chest and then slowly spread to the rest of the body.
In pregnancy too the symptoms and patterns are same, except that this time the baby is involved. And as the blisters are formed in the inside of the body too there are high chances of danger to the baby too.
How Risky is it to be exposed to Chicken Pox in Pregnancy?
If you have had a chicken pox before and you are pregnant then you are probably immune to getting chicken pox – and there is just little worry.
Almost 90% people all over the world have been effectively reached with the chicken pox vaccines which makes the relatively immune from chicken pox.
But there are chances of getting infected if you have not had chicken pox in your childhood or not got proper vaccines for it.
The high average of pregnant women getting chicken pox in pregnancy is a max of about 7 cases in 10000 women.
However if you are pregnant and are have doubts of having come in contact with someone having chicken pox when you have not been immune, it’s time to call your doctor and reach out for early treatments. As it can severely affect the health of the baby and its development!
How does Chicken Pox in Pregnancy Endanger the Baby?
There are serious complications involved in having infected by chicken pox during pregnancy. Although the time of getting infected by chicken pox during pregnancy matters a lot too!
Chicken pox during the first or second trimester of pregnancy:
When the mother is exposed to chicken pox during the first and second trimester of pregnancy, it is evident that the baby gets affected too.
While proper medications and early treatments can lower down the effect of it and help in controlling the baby’s condition during pregnancy, but there can be chances of early birth defects in the child like:
- Having scars on the body.
- There can be abnormalities to bones and muscles.
- Small head.
- Child can be blind from birth.
- Mental abnormalities
Chicken pox in the third trimester or during delivery:
If the mother has her chicken pox infection during a couple of weeks before delivery and the rashes have popped out almost 10 to 20 days before the delivery then there are only minor complications with the child.
But if the mother’s rash is develop during the time of delivery or within week of delivering the child, then the chances are high that the child shall be exposed to having chicken pox within a week of birth.
This exposes the child to severity of chicken pox as almost 30% of cases of chicken pox during child birth have resulted in infant deaths.
In cases like these doctors make use of vaccinations and antibodies to prevent the child from chicken pox and handle the spreading of virus into the baby’s body.
How to Prevent from Chicken Pox During Pregnancy?
Almost everyone now-a-days have had a vaccination for chicken pox during their childhood. The right way is go for a blood test which shall confirm the vaccinations. Before getting pregnant, it is better to consult a doctor and find the right vaccination done.
People do go for double vaccination which helps in getting complete safety from chicken pox during pregnancy. If you are going for vaccination before getting pregnant, it is safe to keep a 3 months gap between your chicken pox vaccination and conceiving a baby.
If you are already pregnant, then in the first visit itself the doctor shall be requiring the confirmations of the chicken pox vaccination and if you hadn’t had any, then there shall be precautions taken in keeping you safe from any contact with the infected person or susceptible environment.
However if you have doubts of having come into contacts with people having chicken pox, then it is best to reach out to your doctor for preventive medications.
The doctor generally goes for antibodies and medicines which help in lowering the effect of chicken pox in the body.
If there are other children in the house, then doctor recommends vaccination from them as well. The contagious nature of the disease is dangerous and pregnant women have to take special care in avoiding situations of coming into contacts with the infected people.
What Happens When a Newborn Baby gets Chicken Pox?
When the mother has had chicken pox during the time of her delivery, it is very probable that the child may be infected too. This will result in development of rashes and blisters on the baby’s body within a week of birth.
The newborn baby might get very ill and the delicate body sometimes is not able to take the pain of the chicken pox blisters.
However doctors run into the scene with the immediate chicken pox vaccination – right after the birth – to avoid development of the virus and blisters or prevent the baby from chicken pox altogether.
But if a week has passed and the baby has developed blisters, then the doctors choose the help of medications to help it make bearable for the baby as well as reduce the effect of the blisters on their skin.
The chicken pox blisters take almost a week or two to completely way off and the scars take time to get cleared. The two weeks might prove to be extremely critical but all shall be well once the blisters start drying up.
So if you have not already been vaccinated by chicken pox vaccination, it is time to rush to your doctor. Planning pregnancy need early understanding of possible diseases and make yourself ready for it.
However if you are pregnant and have worries about your baby getting it too, or the new born baby is showing signs of rash spots on their skin – reach out to your doctor and start with the medications now!