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Week by Week

Fifth Disease during Pregnancy

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le.

What is Fifth Disease?

Fifth disease is caused by the human parvovirus B19. It is a contagious infection which spreads through coughing, sneezing or bodily fluids from an infected person. Usually, Fifth disease is mild and will resolve on its own without any treatments. Most pregnant women who are affected with Fifth disease still have the chance to deliver healthy babies.

What are the symptoms of Fifth disease during pregnancy?

People who are diagnosed with Fifth disease may develop several signs and symptoms, including soreness in the joints which could last for several days or weeks, fever, headache, sore throat, and lacy red rash on the cheeks, legs, belly, and neck.

How Can Fifth Disease Be Diagnosed during Pregnancy?

To diagnose Fifth disease, you need to take a blood test for infection even if you have a rash or not. Once doctors figure out your medical condition, they will pay the most attention to your unborn child. Besides, if necessary, you may be asked to check with additional ultrasounds for 8 to 12 weeks. This test aims at figuring out any potential pregnancy complications.  If the ultrasound shows any signs of the illness in your baby, your health care professional may recommend taking one of two medical procedures, amniocentesis or cordocentesis, to confirm the infection and its severity.

Possible complications of Fifth disease during pregnancy

Fifth disease may result in dangerous complications during pregnancy. However, this possibility is rare – approximately 5% of the time. Anemia is one of the most common complication your unborn baby may suffer when they have Fifth disease. If so, you child will lack healthy red blood cells and consequently, there are not enough oxygen levels for the development of the body. Most cases of anemia among babies are not serious and can be monitored for health concerns after birth. However, if the baby has severe anemia, this may increase the possibility of developing Hydrops.

Hydrops is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of fluid in your baby’s body. This unexpected complication can result in congestive heart failure and possibly death. To save the baby, doctors will perform a blood transfusion while they are still in utero. On the other hand, if your baby has Hydrops during the third trimester, you may need to be induced to give birth early.

Can you prevent Fifth disease during pregnancy?

The bad news is that up till now, experts have not been able to create any vaccine against Fifth disease yet. Therefore, you need to prevent it from the very beginning. To keep Fifth disease at bay, your should cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, wash hands regularly with soap and hot water, avoid contacting with bodily fluids on items or people who have Fifth disease.


You might also want to read:

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
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