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Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by a virus from the herpes family. It is transmitted through droplets of saliva and unhealed skin lesions from a person with the disease.
If a pregnant woman has the disease, she can infect the fetus as it is transmitted through the placenta. That is why this disease, which we generally associate with childhood, is so important during pregnancy.
The manifestation is the same for a pregnant person and one who is not: cutaneous eruption in the form of macules and papules that later become vesicles, predominantly on the face, trunk, arms and legs, and in the end these become scabs (here the person no longer transmits the disease). It also affects mucous membranes such as the mouth or vagina. Around 10% of cases are complicated by 'varicella' pneumonia.
Confirmation that it is chickenpox will be given by serological tests in blood (IgM + and IgG +).
Currently we have the vaccine, which is contraindicated during pregnancy, that is why we recommend that every woman who is planning to become pregnant, confirm through a test that she is immunized against chickenpox (and other infections such as rubella). If she is not immunized, she can be vaccinated and must wait one to three months until she can become pregnant.
What if a pregnant woman has been in contact with someone infected? The first will be go to the doctor, to rule out whether it is immune or not. If the illness has passed, then you should stay quiet.
If you have not passed it, then you can be given 20 ml Polyvalent Gamma Globulin intramuscularly prophylactically to prevent infection. Sometimes, even after the administration of this injection, small chickenpox lesions may appear on the skin but with a milder course of infection.
In the case of contagion from a pregnant woman, drug treatment will be done with Acyclovir 500mg / 8 hours for 5 to 10 days. If varicella pneumonia appears or the skin lesions are very extensive, the pregnant woman should be admitted and acyclovir administered intravenously.
If a pregnant woman contracts chickenpox during the first trimester of pregnancy or early in the second trimester, there is a small chance (0.4 - 2.0%) that the baby will be born with a birth defect known as congenital chickenpox syndrome. This means that the baby will have atrophy of the limbs and scars on the skin. Sometimes central nervous system problems and eye abnormalities occur.
To see the affectation of chickenpox to the fetus, an amniocentesis is usually done. It looks for the presence of the virus in the amniotic fluid. If there isn't, parents can rest assured; although they should know that they will undergo a more exhaustive ultrasound control, to rule out possible malformations typical of the infection.
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