Children’s viral diseases have much in common. All of them are transmitted by airborne droplets and are very contagious. It is enough to breathe in the smallest droplets of saliva that the patient secretes by breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing, to catch any of these ailments. The danger is that identifying an infected person is not easy at all. He becomes contagious a few days before the appearance of characteristic symptoms. Therefore, theoretically, any healthy person can be a threat to the future mother. Especially if it is a child. However, this does not mean that a pregnant woman should panic and not to go out for 9 months. Not everything is so scary. The main thing is to remember whether she was ill with measles, chickenpox, mumps and rubella in her childhood. If the answer is positive, the young woman can be calm. After the suffered diseases, the organism has developed the immunity to them. You need to worry only if the “childhood” sores went around the woman side and she was not vaccinated against them.
However, even if the vaccination was, it is worthwhile to reinsure and, just in case, to pass tests for antibodies to pathogens. After 25 years after vaccination, the immunity formed to them is significantly weakened, or even completely vanishes. Therefore, mom has a chance of catching a dangerous infection.
Measles: beats at a distance
Measles is one of the most contagious viral diseases. A child can catch it by visiting a room where a sick person was 2 hours before him. For pregnant woman it is enough, for example, to be in the same transport with the sick person, while they can even sit at different ends of the bus. The measles virus easily overcomes a distance of several tens of meters. If this trouble has happened to the future mother, it is very important to establish the period of pregnancy on which she fell ill. The smaller it is, the heavier are the consequences. Infection with measles in the first trimester in 20% of cases leads to miscarriage or various pathologies of the fetus. A baby can be born with a low level of intellectual development or severe lesions of the nervous system. In addition, it is these vices that are worst diagnosed at the beginning of pregnancy. Unfortunately, neither an experienced gynecologist nor a qualified expert in ultrasound research will be able to say exactly whether the young woman will bypass the trouble or she will get into these ill-fated 20%. Therefore, it is not uncommon for women who have had measles in the early stages of pregnancy to be artificially interrupted. However, of course, this is an extreme measure, and before making such a decision, thorough examination is required.
The prognosis of the disease, after the 16th week of pregnancy, is more encouraging. At this time, measles tend to flow easily and do not adversely affect the fetus. The disease does not allow the placenta to clear out, which by that time is finally formed and reliably protects the future baby from the negative impact of harmful factors. However, in the last weeks of pregnancy, there is a danger again. If the mother falls ill closer to the finals, then she can infect her baby when he goes through the birth canal. Even in the middle of the last century, such a “gift” could lead to the death of a child, but now, when there are strong antibiotics and modern methods of resuscitation in the arsenal of doctors, the mortality of infants from congenital measles infection has significantly decreased.
Chickenpox: rarely, but aptly
Doctors say that the majority of people who believe that they never had chickenpox as a child, in fact, had it in such a light form that they did not even notice it. Only 4% of adults do not have immunity to this disease. Apparently, therefore, it is rare in pregnant women. According to statistics, out of 2,000 pregnant women, only one catches up the virus of chicken pox. If a woman falls ill for up to 20 weeks, miscarriage and intra-uterine fetal death are possible. If the pregnancy is preserved, the danger remains. The baby can develop a so-called syndrome of congenital varicella. The defects that it causes include scars on the skin, underdevelopment of muscles and bones of the extremities, cataracts, various neurological disorders. Fortunately, this syndrome does not occur more often than the disease itself. The probability that the baby may have it does not exceed 2%. In any case, it is better to be reinsured and undergo an unscheduled ultrasound, which will make it possible to establish whether the chickenpox virus has reached the fetus, and if so, what is the degree of its defeat.
Rubella: danger code – red!
Rubella is the most dangerous “child” infection for pregnant women, because the disease in the early stages always (!) Leads to the loss of the child. If the infection occurred in the first trimester, the infection will certainly reach the fetus. As a result, a miscarriage may occur. In the event that after the disease the pregnancy persists, the child suffers from irreversible changes. Most likely, the baby will be born with a syndrome of congenital rubella, the so-called pathological triad: cataracts, heart disease and deafness. That is why pregnant women who have had the disease in the first trimester are recommended to have an abortion for medical reasons. Otherwise, the baby will be born inferior.
If the infection with the rubella virus took place after 16 weeks, the risk of a baby with developmental malformations remains, but becomes minimal. It is believed that at the 4th month of pregnancy the risk of infection of the fetus is 5-6%, on the fifth and later – about 1-1.7%. Therefore, it is not necessary to interrupt pregnancy. However, it is worth to be prepared for the fact that the baby can be born with a small height and low body weight. In the future, such children lag behind in physical development from their peers. If the mother is infected on the eve of childbirth, then the baby will have typical skin rashes that will soon pass. In addition, the baby himself will remain contagious for several months after birth.
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