Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pregnancy and chickenpox

This is not a medical advice. Following information is for your information only. Please get professional advice if you are in doubt.
  • What is chickenpox?
Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is an infectious disease. Chickenpox is highly contagious and spreads from person to person by direct contact or through the air from an infected person’s coughing or sneezing. 

  •  Is it dangerous to pregnant women and unborn?
Yes, it is. If a pregnant woman gets chickenpox while in the first or early second trimester of pregnancy, there is a small chance (0.4 – 2.0%) that the baby could be born with birth defects known as "congenital varicella syndrome." Babies born with congenital varicella syndrome may be of low birthweight and have scarring of the skin and problems with arms, legs, brain, and eyes. 
Newborns whose mothers develop chickenpox rash from 5 days before to 2 days after delivery are at risk for chickenpox shortly after birth, with the chance of death as high as 30%.

Unfortunately, my wife had no chickenpox history and had it in the first trimester. We went to see a doctor and she said the the same thing - chance to have problem is low and no one will know the outcome until give birth. From various sources, it is true because even detailed ultrasound cannot spot any abnormalities.

One common mistake among local mothers is that they mix up Rubella, also known as German measles (德國痲疹) and Varicella, also known as Chickenpox. Rubella is more dangerous to unborn. Fortunately, this will be checked at pre-marital check-up. But for chickenpox, as it is very common and most of the people got immune from it, it won't be checked unless you do your own blood test for it.

If you are unsure whether you are immune to it or not, have a check before planning to have babies and get vaccination if necessary.


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