1. What is chickenpox?
Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a disease spread by the respiratory tract or direct contact with the Varicella zoster virus (called VZV). This disease is commonly seen in children and has a two- week incubation period.
2. The incidence of chickenpox in pregnancy
According to epidemiological research in the United Kingdom and the United States, the incidence of chickenpox in pregnancy is about 3/1,000. In the United States, at least 3 million women are pregnant each year, so there are about 9,000 cases of pregnant women get chickenpox every year.
According to other studies, the incidence of chickenpox primary infection in pregnancy is about 5/10,000 – 7/10,000, because most women have had the disease when they were young or had previous immunization.
The mortality rate of pregnant women with chickenpox is the highest among the cases of chickenpox in adults.
3. Dangerous consequences of chickenpox during pregnancy
Pregnant women who unfortunately get chickenpox will face the risk of pneumonia caused by the varicella virus.
For women who develop varicella infection in pregnancy, the effects of the disease on the fetus will depend on the stage of pregnancy:
In the first 3 months, especially from 8 to 12 weeks of pregnancy, the risk of the baby having congenital chickenpox syndrome is 0.4%. The most common manifestation of this syndrome is bullous blisters on the skin of the babies. Other abnormalities that can occur are low weight, short limbs, mental retardation, etc. Among children with congenital chickenpox syndrome, 30% will die in the first months of life, 15% will be at risk of shingles in the first 4 years of life.
In the middle 3 months, especially from weeks 13-20 of pregnancy, the risk of unborn babies having congenital chickenpox syndrome increases by 2%. From the 20th week of pregnancy, chickenpox has almost no effect on the fetus.
However, if a mother is infected with chickenpox within 5 days before birth and 2 days after birth, the newborn will be more likely to get chickenpox because the mom has not had enough time to make antibodies to be transmitted to the fetus before birth. The mortality rate of newborns now reaches 25-30% of the infected cases.
4. Treatment for pregnant women with chickenpox like?
Pregnant women with chickenpox need to rest, drink much water, eat liquid and easily digestible foods. If having a fever, moms can use antipyretics paracetamol. It is necessary to keep the body clean to the risk of virus infection.
5. Vaccination for pregnant women?
It can be seen that pregnant women are at high risk of experiencing complications of chickenpox, so moms who have been exposed to the disease but have never had chickenpox or had never been vaccinated before should use Varicella-zoster immune globulin (abbreviated as VZIG) – a vaccine used to vaccinate against the chickenpox virus. Remember to consult a doctor before getting vaccinated.