shingles contagious pregnant women

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Pregnancy is a time that is supposed to be a joyous moment for expectant parents. However, this period also turns out to be a worrisome time for expectant parents. This is because pregnancy causes the immune system of the mother to become more vulnerable to various pathogens. One such pathogen that causes worry is the varicella zoster virus. This virus causes chickenpox , that is considered to be mostly a childhood disease. Once you get chickenpox, you can never develop the same infection again. However, the virus does not disappear from the system and stays dormant in the nervous system. When the body's immune system is compromised, for example during pregnancy, it leads to shingles. Shingles is an infection that is caused by the same varicella zoster virus. Thus, if a woman had developed chickenpox once in her life, there are chances she may develop shingles during pregnancy. If she never had an infection, she may fall prey to chickenpox during pregnancy. This is why many women wonder 'are shingles contagious to pregnant women'. Let us answer this question in the following paragraphs.

Are Shingles Contagious during Pregnancy

Before going into the details, the answer to 'are shingles contagious to pregnant women' in short is 'Yes'. Shingles cannot be caught, as they are, in fact, the reactivation of the virus dormant in your body. If you had caught a chickenpox infection, you will never catch it again in your life. However, as mentioned above the virus is still in your body and can get activated during pregnancy.

It is very frightening for a woman to develop shingles during pregnancy. Most of the cases show good prognosis related to shingles during pregnancy. When one is pregnant, the body is under stress as it has to support the fetus as well. This may cause the immune system to weaken and the virus may take this opportunity to wake up from its sleep. A herpes infection during pregnancy can pose some risks to the unborn child. You can find answers related to the question are shingles contagious to infants from the article linked.

It has been found that a woman who is 30 weeks pregnant and develops a shingles infection, it may lead to birth defects in the child. However, the evidence related to the birth defects varies and no expert opinion has been found. Many experts agree that shingles is less likely to cause any harm to the fetus. In extreme cases, it may lead to a miscarriage, that is, loss of fetus.

How Long are Shingles Contagious
Many people wonder 'when are shingles contagious?'. Shingles are contagious from the time they cause an infection to the time the blisters pop out. This means, the shingles virus remains contagious as long as the blisters, that are formed, do not dry out completely. It becomes contagious when the blisters are formed. Then, it is found present in the dry crusts formed from the blisters. When the crusts begin to peel off, the virus tends to spread through air and infect people who never had a chickenpox infection before. If they have a weak immune system, they may develop an infection. Thus, pregnant women should stay away from people with possible chickenpox or shingles infection, especially if they had never had a chickenpox infection before.

Treatment of Shingles during Pregnancy
Shingles are contagious to pregnant women. Therefore, if you spot any of the early signs of shingles, visit the doctor immediately. If you happen to catch the infection during the early stages of pregnancy, it is more likely to harm the baby. More than shingles, it has been found chickenpox infection is more dangerous to the unborn baby. The treatment for shingles during pregnancy include antiviral medications like acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir. Apart from these medications the doctor may recommend drugs that are safe to be taken during pregnancy. These drugs include anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, etc.

This is all about are shingles contagious to pregnant women. Shingles is said to cause congenital birth defects in the newborn baby. Shingles during pregnancy is an extremely rare condition. Chances of a pregnant women developing shingles are quite remote therefore quite vague. However, it is always wise to stay away from crowded places and areas that may lead to an infection. Eat right and take all the precautions to avoid an infection. If you happen to develop any symptoms of shingles, visit your doctor immediately.