Viruses – Chickenpox in Pregnancy

October 18th, 2010

Chickenpox in pregnancy has serious consequences for both the mother and fetus and fortunately I do not encounter it often in my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices.  If a pregnant women becomes infected with VZV (varicella zoster virus) during the first 20 weeks of gestation, the fetus may have serious birth defects and have Congenital Varicella Syndrome.  Congenital Varicella Syndrome occurs in 1% of fetuses whose mothers contracted chickenpox during pregnancy.  Neonates with Congenital Varicella Syndrome may have hypoplastic limbs, skin scarring, eye defects, and central nervous system disorders.  Additionally, the mother may become severely ill and develop varicella pneumonia.  Disseminated or severe chickenpox in pregnancy requires IV Acyclovir treatment.  In pregnant women exposed to chickenpox, VZIG (varicella immunoglobulin) can be given to prevent infection in the first 96 hours but should not be given once a pregnant women becomes infected.  In pregnant women who develop chickenpox in the time period of 5 days prior to delivery and two days post partum the risk of severe neonatal chickenpox is very high, so these women can be treated with IV acyclovir and VZIG to prevent transmission to their baby.

Neonatal Chickenpox