Get access

MANAGEMENT OF VARICELLA-ZOSTER VIRUS INFECTION DURING PREGNANCY AND THE PERIPARTUM

Authors

  • Lynette K. Russell cnm, ms

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Lynette K. Russell, cnm, ms, received her master's degree from Columbia University in 1972. She is currently practicing with the Midwifery Service at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, New Hampshire, and is a clinical assistant professor at Dartmouth Medical School. She is a member of the advisory group to Special Projects Section, an International Health Committee member, and Regional assistant editor of Journal of Nurse-Midwifery


5 Woodhaven Unit A, White River Junction, VT 05001

ABSTRACT

This paper reviews the important concepts about varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection, varicella (chickenpox), and herpes zoster (shingles, zoster) during pregnancy and the peripartum period. The majority of the U.S. population has had chickenpox during childhood, leaving only about 10% of adults over the age of 15 susceptible to the virus. However, nonimmune adults, including pregnant women, are at greater risk for complications and mortality when they contrac varicella. The virus is also teratogenic. The implication of VZV infection during pregnancy and the perinatal period are presented. Risks such as varicella pneumonia and congenital defects can be serious even though the incidence during pregnancy is low, one to five per 10,000 pregnancies. Management and treatment plans are presented. Counseling and education aimed at prevention or modification of the infection in the mother and baby is outlined.

Ancillary