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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: shingles and pregnant women

 cranky - Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:15 am

i have shingles, and have been around 4 pregnant women, 1 8 1/2 months, 1 4 months 2 under 2months will shingles affect these babies
 Debbie Miller, RN - Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:39 am

User avatar Hello,
It is not common to develop chicken pox from exposure to someone with shingles. If the expectant mothers have had chicken pox or the vaccine in the past, they should be safe. 95% of adults are immune. The doctor may have already determined their immunity and warned them if they were vulnerable to such viral diseases. If so, she should try to avoid anyone with either chicken pox or shingles. Non-household exposures are less likely to infect others than close contacts.

You do not get shingles from exposure to shingles - it is activation of a latent virus in your body resulting from a case of chicken pox earlier in one's life. Often adults develop it when they are stressed or their immune system is compromised, but it is not considered a contagious condition.

If any of the women did develop chicken pox, it is not necessarily associated with adverse reactions in pregnancy but in some cases, if the mother gets the infection in the first trimester, there is a syndrome associated for the baby. The ultrasound at mid-pregnancy will usually determine problems that might have resulted in these cases.

Exposure in the last half of pregnancy is not likely to cause any trouble unless she broke out within five days of giving birth. In that case the baby would be treated with immune globulin to prevent complications. Talking to their doctors about the exposure is always a good idea.

Best wishes.

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