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How dangerous is chicken pox during pregnancy?

Q: My wife is 22 weeks pregnant and is suffering from Chicken Pox 1) How serious is it to the mother & the child? 2) For fever she is taking Crocin & Amoxycilin as advised. This has helped her a lot. Please advise whether there will be any complications for the child and mother.

A:Chicken pox can lead to pneumonitis (lung infection with the virus) in the pregnant woman and can be rather serious. However, the disease seems to be under control. Infection of the mother in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy can cause congenital malformations of the baby like skin lesions, bony leg defects, hydronephrosis, infection of the eyes (chorioretinitis) and the brain can also get affected (cortical atrophy); these occur in about 2% of cases (maximum between 13 and 20 weeks of pregnancy). Your wife has just crossed that period. The incubation period of this virus is short-less than 2 weeks; so hopefully she has caught the infection soon after 20 weeks or at end of 20 weeks. Infection of mother after 20 weeks can give rise to skin lesions in the baby and occasionally zoster can occur in the new born many months after birth. Except for the bony leg defect and the hydronephrosis (kidney problem) which can be detected by ultrasound (done by expert), it is not possible to diagnose unequivocally any of the other possible conditions affecting the baby before birth. Have a good pediatrician at the time of delivery, so that he examines the baby thoroughly and conducts necessary tests that may be required. Have faith in the Almighty, everything will be OK.

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