Shingles in pregnancy: causes, symptoms and treatment

Shingles in pregnancy: information on causes, symptoms and treatment

  • Responsible for the disease Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is a virus that remains in the body after a chickenpox disease.
  • One of the most visible and unfortunately often painful symptoms of shingles is the group-shaped blistering. These itch and can cause severe pain.
  • The baby is at risk only if the mother does not carry antibodies in the body. This is the case if she has never had chicken pox or vaccinated before pregnancy.

The disease of shingles during pregnancy unsettles the expectant mother. Is the disease dangerous for my baby? Can it cause complications during pregnancy??

First of all: keep calm, because shingles are really dangerous during pregnancy only in very rare cases! In this guide, we explain what causes hide behind the shingles in pregnancy, what symptoms you recognize the virus and what the treatment looks like.

1. A virus is responsible for herpes zoster (shingles) during pregnancy

If the virus is once in the body due to chickenpox in childhood, it can break out again at any time.

The trigger for shingles in pregnancy is a herpes virus called “varicella zoster”, which is why the Shingles also known as herpes zoster becomes.

shingles You can only get that if you had chickenpox – No matter what age – or if you have come into direct contact with the viruses from the pustules of patients. The virus of chickenpox and herpes zoster is the same. The virus remains in the body even after a successful treatment of chickenpox (more specifically in the nerve roots) and sometimes causes a new outbreak.

Particularly affected by shingles are people with one weakened immune system – And this is the case with pregnant women, which is why a disease is not uncommon in early pregnancy.

2. The symptoms of shingles during pregnancy are extremely uncomfortable to painful

Herpes Zoster is one skin disease. Primarily, it occurs on body parts that are located around the nerve cells affected by the virus. The typical symptoms of herpes zoster include:

Small, grouped and filled with liquid bubbles are the characteristic appearance of herpes zoster.

  • Swelling of the skin
  • Reddening of the skin
  • small knots on the skin that occur in a large amount
  • small blisters filled with fluid or blood

If the shingles occur during pregnancy, it can be observed, especially in pregnant women, that they feel really sick at the beginning. Also a light fever can occur. The (often running around the stomach) blisters are also unpleasant and are often felt as painful.

Where shingles occur varies from person to person. On the leg, neck, face, back or abdomen – Every job is theoretically possible. However, especially the blisters on the face are perceived as particularly painful.

3. Herpes Zoster in pregnancy is not always safe for the baby

Herpes Zoster is contagious only when you come into contact with the contents of the filled bubbles. Even if you’re in contact with people who have herpes zoster but blisters are not in pregnancy, the risk of infection low. Shingles during pregnancy is dangerous for the unborn baby only in certain cases:

Mother used to have chickenpox or is vaccinated Mother has never had chickenpox or vaccinated
Is equipped with antibodies, so that infection can be excluded. Virus can be transmitted to the child if the mother was infected shortly before or after birth.
Transfers the antibodies to the child so that no infection should occur. The new virus in the mother can lead to miscarriage.

If you do not want to take any risks during pregnancy, it is best to avoid contact with people who have shingles. If there is infection in the first few weeks of pregnancy and the mother has no antibodies, you can in rare cases, consequences for the baby occur.

These include, for example, damage to the brain, inflammation of the eyes or brain, paralysis or ulcers.

4. Shingles in pregnancy should only be treated by the doctor

Beware of painkillers

The use of painkillers for shingles during pregnancy should, without exception, only after consultation with the doctor.

If the diagnosis shingles is made by the doctor, he will contact you immediately treat with painkillers. Mostly ointments or powders are used, which have an analgesic, but also antiseptic effect. The thorough hygiene is particularly important in herpes zoster, so as not to spread the virus.

Whether painkillers should be taken during pregnancy depends firstly on the degree of pain in pregnant women and also on the stage of pregnancy. Certain medications can lead to premature labor, especially towards the end of pregnancy. Here is the Precise consultation with the doctor is particularly important.

5. Important questions and answers

How long does the incubation period for shingles last??

Once you’ve had the chickenpox, it carries the virus, so no incubation period (time from infection to the onset of the disease) can be set. In a first infection with the varicella you can with a Incubation period of 8-28 days count.

How long is the duration of the disease?

Usually, the symptoms of shingles are under medical treatment about 4 weeks subsided.

Can I support the treatment at home, for example with home remedies??

Cooling creams work best against the painful blisters.

The treatment with home remedies should be omitted in herpes zoster. Due to the high risk of infection with open vesicles, in case of incorrect or insufficient treatment, the virus can spread very quickly to the body and endanger the health of mother and child, especially during pregnancy.

Only You can also use cooling agents at home. A cooling envelope is already a very pleasant pain relief.

Advantages and disadvantages of independent treatment of shingles without medical support

  • Cooling agents have every home, so you do not have to go out of the house.
  • The risk of infecting others with the virus is much lower.
  • Independent treatment is rarely sufficient to completely heal the infection.
  • May be dangerous to the child during pregnancy if the virus is not completely controlled while keeping an eye on the well-being of the child.

Why is it said that shingles and stress are often related?

Shingles occurs predominantly in a weakened immune system. Anyone who suffers from constant stress (besides pregnancy) can thus increase the risk of shingles. Becomes Shingles u.a. triggered by stress, This is especially noticeable in the concomitant symptoms such as extreme fatigue, tiredness or fever.

Tip: During pregnancy you should always switch back a gear, not only because of a possible infection, but also for the baby’s sake! The pregnant body works anyway on high performance and should not be burdened more than necessary.

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Christina Cherry
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