Chickenpox During Pregnancy

Preventing the Pox

If you're not yet pregnant, ask your doctor about getting the chickenpox vaccine, which has been available since 1995. Your provider will first test you to see if you're immune to chickenpox; most women are immune because they either had the disease already or were vaccinated against it. In the event that you do need the vaccine, you should wait at least one to three months after receiving it before attempting to conceive.

If you're pregnant and have no history of chickenpox, your doctor will probably recommend a blood test during a prenatal visit. If the test shows that you're not immune, you should avoid anyone with chickenpox and any susceptible individual who's been in contact with an infected person. If your susceptible child was exposed, call your doctor for advice about what to do.

If you're susceptible to chickenpox and have been closely exposed to someone who has it, contact your doctor right away. He'll probably recommend treatment with VZIG (which is safe for you and baby) as a preventive measure. It's not yet known whether giving VZIG to a pregnant woman helps protect her fetus from infection.

If you already have children at home, the pediatrician may recommend they be vaccinated at a well-child visit. Though a recently vaccinated person could, theoretically, pass the virus on to others if he or she develops any sores around the injection site (as occasionally happens), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you don't have to postpone vaccination of a healthy child because you're pregnant. In the unlikely event that your child develops vaccination sores, and you're susceptible, consult your doctor. You may need to avoid contact with your child until the rash clears.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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