Cytomegalovirus in Pregnancy and its Effects

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that commonly affects many people and tends to remain in their bodies permanently. Majority of people don’t realise that they are affected with the virus, because there are hardly any symptoms. If you have CMV in pregnancy, then there is a risk of passing this virus to your baby.

Cytomegalovirus in pregnancy

If you are a healthy person, then CMV shows no harmful effects. Adults and children usually recover easily after experiencing minor symptoms. However, if your immunity is compromised and/or had a recent transplant of bone marrow or organ, then the presence of CMV can cause serious complications, including death. The infection spreads to others, when they come into contact with body fluids of the affected person. It may not be possible to cure this condition completely, but symptoms can be treated using medications.

Cytomegalovirus in pregnancy

Most people show no signs of CMV infection. Others may develop mild symptoms. Pregnant women are most likely to pass on the virus to the baby. The virus in your bloodstream can move through placenta and reach the uterus, thereby infecting the developing fetus. If a baby is infected in the womb, then it is referred to as congenital CMV. There is also a risk of infection in babies during birth or soon afterwards, through breastfeeding. This is known as perinatal CMV.

CMV in babies

Babies affected with congenital CMV usually have no symptoms at birth. Some of the babies may develop CMV symptoms later on. It can range from a few months to many years. This infection can lead to restricted development, issues with vision and hearing in the later years.

Babies diagnosed with congenital CMV at birth and having symptoms may experience-

  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Seizures
  • Small head
  • Liver issues
  • Jaundice
  • Pneumonia
  • Skin rashes
  • Spleen issues
  • Lung problems

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