Complications of Chickenpox During Pregnancy
Pregnant women who have Reference chickenpox Opens New Window are at risk of complications. The type of complications depend on when the infection developed during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women who have chickenpox during the first half of pregnancy may go into labor early (premature labor) or have a miscarriage.
- Pregnant women who have chickenpox in the last part of pregnancy are more likely to develop varicella Reference pneumonia Opens New Window. Even a healthy pregnant woman is at risk of dying if she develops varicella pneumonia.
- Up to 2 out of 100
Reference fetuses Opens New Window whose mothers have chickenpox during the first
20 weeks of pregnancy will also get chickenpox.Reference 1 This
is called congenital varicella and can cause:
- Birth defects. Birth defects can include one limb (usually a leg) smaller than the other, scars on the limbs, or eye problems such as cloudy lenses.
- Low birth weight (weigh less than expected at birth).
- Reference Seizures Opens New Window. The baby can have seizures after birth.
- Reference Intellectual disability Opens New Window.
- Reference Shingles Opens New Window. Fetuses who have chickenpox will not have chickenpox again. But they can still have shingles, even as babies or young children.
- Death. Up to 7 out of 100 of the fetuses who get congenital varicella die.Reference 2
- Babies born within a few days of their mothers' chickenpox infection have a risk of severe chickenpox infection. These babies are at greater risk of complications from chickenpox.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: October 13, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics