Shingles During Pregnancy!
What Is Shingles During Pregnancy?
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a condition caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox: the varicella-zoster virus. It typically only affects those who have had chickenpox, though it rarely affects young children. If you get shingles during pregnancy, it can be uncomfortable and scary. But it’s important to understand what it is, how it’s treated and how it affects your unborn baby.
What Causes Shingles During Pregnancy?
Shingles usually occurs when the virus becomes active again, usually due to stress or a compromised immune system. During pregnancy, the body undergoes many natural changes that can weaken your immune system, making it more vulnerable to the reactivation of this virus.
What Are the Symptoms of Shingles During Pregnancy?
Symptoms of shingles during pregnancy can be similar to those seen with other types of herpes infections. Common symptoms include:
- Pain – Pain is the most common symptom of shingles during pregnancy, and can range from mild to severe.
- Itching or burning – These may also occur in the affected area.
- Rash – A rash typically appears on one side of your body and consists of painful blisters that may ooze. The rash may be red, pink, or purple.
- Fever – Some pregnant women may experience a fever when experiencing shingles.
How Is Shingles During Pregnancy Treated?
Treatment for shingles during pregnancy typically includes antiviral medications, such as acyclovir or valacyclovir. It’s important to discuss any medications you may be taking during pregnancy with your doctor. In some cases, a topical anesthetic may also be prescribed to reduce the pain associated with the rash.
Can Shingles During Pregnancy Affect My Unborn Baby?
The good news is that most babies will not be affected by the virus. However, if you develop shingles early in your pregnancy (before 20 weeks), there is a slight risk of your baby becoming infected. This is known as neonatal herpes and can be serious, so it’s important to seek medical attention if you think you may have shingles during pregnancy.
If you experience shingles during pregnancy, it’s important to talk to your doctor right away. With proper treatment and care, most pregnant women can manage the symptoms and their unborn babies can stay safe.