Q&A: Is It Safe to Be Around the Chickenpox While Pregnant?

Is it safe to be around a child who has the chickenpox while I'm pregnant?
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ByKerry Dougherty
Updated
Mar 2017
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It really depends on whether or not you’ve had the virus inthe past and at what stage of pregnancy you’re at. If you had chicken poxyourself when you were young, then your body’s most likely immune to the virusnow and you’ll be far less likely to contract it. But if you’re one of thelucky few who’ve never had the pleasure of being housebound for a week,scratching like crazy, then you may still be at risk of contracting the virusin adulthood — and being pregnant with the chicken pox is fun for no one.

If you do contract the virus, it’s mostly a problem if youcontract it within your first 20 weeks or shortly before delivery. If you getit within that 20-week mark, baby faces the risk of getting congenitalvaricella syndrome, which is characterized by malformed limbs, vision problems,skin scars, muscle and bone defects, and mental retardation. If you contract the virus shortly beforedelivery, baby faces the risk of contracting an infection that could belife-threatening. However, baby can be treated with an injection of immuneglobulin, which may prevent any side-effects.

Our advice: To play it safe, do your best to avoid contactwith anyone who currently has chickenpox. Not sure if you ever had the virus? Your doctor can give you a blood testto determine if you have the chicken pox antibodies. 

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