Scarlet fever in pregnancy

Although it is a disease typical of childhood, it can happen to contract it during pregnancy. What to do? Are mom and future baby in danger?

Scarlet fever is a different infectious disease than varicella because it is caused by a bacterium, streptococcus, rather than a virus. Usually the infection occurs especially when you are a child but it can happen to get sick even as adults. Furthermore, once contracted you are not immune because there are several strains and therefore having had this disease as a child is not a guarantee.

Although there are no particular risks, the worry comes when scarlet fever is contracted during pregnancy, as there are fears of fetal malformations.

Symptoms and infection

For the diagnosis and all the complete and exhaustive information it is necessary to contact your doctor who will do the necessary checks. In general we can say that since the bacterium of scarlet fever lives for a long time outside the human body, the infection can occur not only by being close to people who have contracted the disease but also by objects. The most infected days are those in which the disorders appear, while it stops being contagious 48 hours after the start of antibiotic therapy.

Among the main symptoms are high fever, headache, sore throat, pain in the abdomen, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, spots that initially appear on the neck and groin and then spread over the rest of the body and the tongue becoming whitish with red dots. Fever usually lasts 3/5 days while a sore throat can last longer because it takes several weeks for the tonsils and glands to deflate.

Risks during the 9 months

Some doctors claim that the only risk, if scarlet fever is contracted during pregnancy, is a premature birth, but only if the bacteria are present in the vagina (which is very rare). However, few specialists believe that if the disease is contracted in the first trimester, the fetus could undergo malformations.

Most do not think of scarlet fever in pregnancy as a dangerous disease for the fetus, but only annoying for the mother. In all cases it is essential to go to your doctor both for the diagnosis and for advice on how to proceed both for yourself and for the child.

What to do

The first thing to do if you suspect that you have scarlet fever in pregnancy, like any other disease, is to consult your gynecologist who will evaluate whether to perform a vaginal swab to check the risk of the bacterium passing to the fetus during birth (if yes is close to the date) and may prescribe if it is deemed appropriate, an antibiotic treatment, usually based on penicillin.


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