Chickenpox and Pregnancy
Pregnant women who have not had chickenpox and are exposed to it, as well as pregnant women who develop chickenpox symptoms, should contact their doctor immediately. Treatment for chickenpox during pregnancy depends on:
- The presence of symptoms
- The severity of symptoms
- The trimester of pregnancy.
Because pregnant women cannot receive the chickenpox vaccine, varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) may be recommended for treatment. VZIG can prevent or reduce symptoms of chickenpox after exposure. It should be administered as soon as possible, but no later than 96 hours, after exposure to the virus.
The safety of treating chickenpox with acyclovir among pregnant women has not been established. Although studies involving animals have not shown the drug to cause birth defects, adequate, well-controlled studies among pregnant women have not been conducted. Acyclovir still may be considered, however, if the healthcare provider believes the benefits outweigh the risks.
Women who are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant should not receive the chickenpox vaccine. If you discovered that you were pregnant when you received the vaccine, or if you get pregnant within one month after getting it, contact your doctor.
(You can also click Chickenpox Vaccine and Pregnancy for more information.)
Children living in a household with a susceptible pregnant woman should be vaccinated. Vaccinating close contacts is the most effective way to protect a woman again chickenpox during pregnancy. Although there is a small risk that a vaccinated person could get a rash and spread the vaccine strain virus to the pregnant woman, this risk is much smaller than the risk that she could contract "natural" varicella.