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What if I develop chicken pox while pregnant?
Q: I’m pregnant, and my children were recently exposed to chicken pox. Am I in danger of getting them?
A: The first question to ask is, “Am I immune?” If you have already had the chicken pox then the answer is, “yes.” You cannot acquire the virus or become infected. If you’re unsure if you had them before, you still have a 50% chance of being immune. You can take a blood test to determine your immune status.

The second part of this question is, “Are your children immune?” If they have had the chicken pox or have been vaccinated, they can’t get or carry them. If they are susceptible, then you are going to have to wait to see if they contract the infection.

Let’s assume that you’re not immune and at high risk of getting chicken pox. Let’s spend a few muments reviewing what you can do while pregnant. You should not have your children vaccinated for chicken pox while you’re pregnant. There is a slim chance that you could get the virus from them.

If one of your children becomes infected during your pregnancy, your chances of also getting chicken pox run as high as 70 percent. Therefore, you should contact your physician immediately. In many cases you will receive an immunoglobulin against chicken pox. Although it may not prevent chicken pox 100 percent of the time, it will significantly reduce your chance of becoming infected or modify the severity of your illness.

If you become infected, the risks vary. In the first trimester, it can cause severe birth defects. In the second and third trimesters the infection puts you at higher risk of developing pneumonia. If you develop chicken pox within a few days of delivery, you may be quarantined from your newborn until your pox have crusted. The same process of quarantine applies at home. No one with active chicken pox should be near your baby.

If you have any questions regarding this disease, contact your healthcare provider.