When pregnant it is best to keep your immune system built up so that you can fight off illnesses like chicken pox (varicella). Many women and unborn babies weather being exposed to chicken pox easily without any side effects. Unfortunately this is not always the case for everyone. Getting chicken pox while pregnant can have serious side effects, depending what trimester the woman is in when she becomes infected. About 1 in about 2,000 women will become infected with chicken pox while pregnant. It is rare for a baby to be born with chicken pox related birth defects. A high majority of pregnant women are immune to the chicken pox virus and will not be at risk of getting chicken pox.
If you have not had chicken pox or have been immunized against chicken pox, when you know a child or adult who has chicken pox, if you are pregnant, you will want to avoid being around that him or her. Shingles is a form of chicken pox and pregnant women should avoid being exposed to shingles, also. Keeping a strong immune system by eating right, getting appropriate rest, taking supplements, and reducing stress will help you to be able to fight off a chicken pox infection and reduce the severity of symptoms if you do come down with chicken pox (Chicken Pox and Pregnancy - americanpregnancy.org). Most adults were exposed to chicken pox as children or received the vaccination and are immune to the chicken pox virus.
During weeks 8 to 20, the unborn baby is at a slight risk of developing congenital varicella syndrome if the pregnant woman gets chicken pox. This rare syndrome has the following group of birth defects:
During other weeks of pregnancy there is little to no risk to the unborn baby of developing congenital varicella syndrome. When the pregnant mother develops chicken pox during the days surrounding delivery, the baby will be at risk of being infected with chicken pox and develop a rash. This is not serious in a healthy newborn. Babies with other health problems will need to be monitored if they develop chicken pox to avoid related complications.
If avoiding being infected with chicken pox is unsuccessful you will need to treat the chicken pox. In most cases, chicken pox will need to run its course naturally. You can consult with a healthcare professional for safe ways to relieve the symptoms of chicken pox. Proper care of the pox will prevent infection and scarring. Many topical anti-itch treatments and fever treatments are safe to use while pregnant. Avoid medications that might have side affects that can effect an unborn baby. Once the pox scab over, you will no longer be contagious.
It is natural to be concerned about anything that may affect the health and well being of your unborn child. The truth is people who are very careful give birth to babies with health problems and people who are not careful have perfectly healthy babies. Do the best you can and trust no matter what the health of your baby, you will have the strength to handle it.
Learn about the History of Chicken Pox.