Chickenpox during Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the dangers to the fetus that are associated with the infection of VZV are more significant in the first six months. In the third trimester, pregnant women are more likely to have more severe symptoms. For pregnant women, antibodies produced as a result of previous infection or immunization are transferred by the placenta to the fetus. The disease of Varicella in pregnant women may lead to spread through the disease and placenta of the fetus.
If the infection of Chickenpox occurs during the gestation of the first 28 weeks, this may lead to the syndrome of fetal Varicella, also known as the Congenital Varicella syndrome. Concerning the effects on the fetus, it can range in severity. For instance, it may start from underdeveloped fingers and toes to severe bladder and anal malformation.
Possible Problems of Chickenpox
Some of the possible problems include:
- Damage to the brain: microcephaly, hydrocephaly, encephalitis, aplasia of the brain.
- Damage to the eye: optic cup, optic stalk, and lens vesicles. Also, microphthalmia, cataracts, optic atrophy, and chorioretinitis.
- Other neurological disorders: damage to the lumbosacral and cervical spinal cord. Moreover, absent deep tendon reflexes, motor/sensory deficits, and anisocoria/Horner's syndrome.
- Damage to the body: hypoplasia of lower/upper extremities, bladder, and anal sphincter dysfunction.
- Skin disorders: skin lesions and hypopigmentation.
Risk for newborns
The risk of the baby developing the diseases is highest by exposure to an infection period of 7 days before delivery. It is under the threat if connection appears around up to 8 days following the birth. The baby may also be infected via infectious siblings, but this is of less concern if his/her mother is immune.
Newborns who develop chickenpox symptoms are at higher risk of developing pneumonia and other severe complications of this disease. Low birth weight or limb abnormalities are far more common among babies or newborns to those women who are infected with the virus early in their pregnancy. For instance, when a pregnant woman is infected with the disease in the week before birth or during several days after giving birth, her baby may have a higher risk of getting an acute, even life-threatening infection.