How to prevent chickenpox and measles during pregnancy

Maternal and child health

How to Prevent Chickenpox and Measles During Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Guide for Expecting Mothers

Too-Yourhealth

Introduction

Chickenpox and measles are two common childhood illnesses that can have serious complications during pregnancy, leading to birth defects, premature birth, or even miscarriage. While these diseases are preventable through vaccination, many women may not be immune to these viruses if they were not vaccinated as children or have not had these diseases before. This article provides a comprehensive guide for expecting mothers on how to prevent chickenpox and measles during pregnancy.

Chickenpox During Pregnancy

Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). While it is typically a mild illness in children, it can be more severe in pregnant women.

Risks of Chickenpox During Pregnancy

Congenital varicella syndrome (CVS): If a woman gets chickenpox during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, there is a risk of passing the infection to her unborn child. CVS can cause serious birth defects, including brain damage, eye problems, and skin scarring.

Premature birth and low birth weight: Chickenpox during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.

Stillbirth: In rare cases, chickenpox during pregnancy can lead to stillbirth.

Preventing Chickenpox During Pregnancy

The best way to prevent chickenpox during pregnancy is to get vaccinated before becoming pregnant. The varicella vaccine is highly effective in preventing chickenpox. If you are pregnant and have not been vaccinated, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated.

In addition to vaccination, there are other ways to reduce your risk of getting chickenpox during pregnancy:

Avoid contact with people who have chickenpox: If someone you know has chickenpox, it is important to avoid contact with them.

Wash your hands frequently: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after touching surfaces that may have been contaminated with the virus.

Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing: Use a tissue or your elbow to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Stay home from work or school if you are sick: If you have any symptoms of chickenpox, even mild symptoms, stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the infection.

Measles During Pregnancy

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that is caused by the measles virus. It is spread through contact with respiratory droplets from an infected person.

Risks of Measles During Pregnancy

Congenital measles syndrome: If a woman gets measles during the first trimester of pregnancy, there is a risk of passing the infection to her unborn child. Congenital measles syndrome can cause serious birth defects, including hearing loss, cataracts, and heart problems.

Premature birth and low birth weight: Measles during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.

Stillbirth: In rare cases, measles during pregnancy can lead to stillbirth.

Preventing Measles During Pregnancy

The best way to prevent measles during pregnancy is to get vaccinated before becoming pregnant. The measles vaccine is highly effective in preventing measles. If you are pregnant and have not been vaccinated, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated.

In addition to vaccination, there are other ways to reduce your risk of getting measles during pregnancy:

Avoid contact with people who have measles: If someone you know has measles, it is important to avoid contact with them.

Wash your hands frequently: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after touching surfaces that may have been contaminated with the virus.

Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing: Use a tissue or your elbow to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Stay home from work or school if you are sick: If you have any symptoms of measles, even mild symptoms, stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the infection.

Treatment for Chickenpox and Measles During Pregnancy

If you get chickenpox or measles during pregnancy, it is important to see your healthcare provider right away. There are medications that can be used to treat these infections and reduce the risk of complications.

Importance of Vaccination

Vaccination is the best way to prevent chickenpox and measles during pregnancy. If you are not immune to these viruses, talk to your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated before becoming pregnant. Vaccination is safe and effective and can help protect you and your unborn child from serious complications.

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