Does pregnancy compromise your immune system? (Shingles Q) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 10-03-2006, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Howdy! I found last night a few weird red patches (full of little white-clear bumps) on my abdomen. I figured they were hives - my first batch ever! - and went to bed. This morning I searched the Internet to find photos of hives - mine don't look like those I found at all. But they do look like Shingles!

I read enough about Singles to understand what it is (chickenpox in childhood left the virus in my nerves, just waiting to come out when my immune system is compromised), what causes it (well, a compromised immune system!), whether I'm contagious or not (only people who have not had chickenpox can catch chickenpox from me). And I read numerous conflicting reports re: if they could affect a fetus if I were pregnant.

My question is this: Is your immune system compromised when you're pregnant? I can't find any write-up on the 'net about developing shingles when you're pregnant. I'm in the 2WW right now and I'm wondering if this could have anything to do with this crazy rash, whatever it may be.

Did any of you experience odd immune system problems during your pregnancy?

(Also: If it is hives, I wonder if my pre-natal vitamin is causing it. Have any of you experienced an allergic reaction to a pre-natal?)
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#2 of 15 Old 10-03-2006, 09:42 AM
 
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My sister experienced shingles during her pregnancy. Her doc told her it was in fact due to her immune system being slightly compromised while pregnant.

Mama to two crazy boys (8/05 & 9/07) and happy wife to one wonderful hubby.
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#3 of 15 Old 10-03-2006, 09:48 AM
 
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I know someone who also had shingles in her pregnancy, during the last couple of weeks. Her baby was just fine and she wasn't contagious to anyone else as long as the shingles themselves weren't exposed. The doctor also told her it was due to a compromised immune system which was made worse by a lot of stress that she was under.

I hope it's not shingles for your sake! I've never had them, but I hear they can really hurt. Rest up!
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#4 of 15 Old 10-03-2006, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your replies. You've confirmed my suspicions. (I wondered if the association was just all a product of my vivid 2WW imagination!) Either I'm PG, or ... I'm completely at a loss for why shingles would pop up now. I'm pretty darn healthy otherwise. Guess I'd best head to the doc if they don't go away soon.

deleria, I sure hope IUB decides it's time to escape soon!
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#5 of 15 Old 10-03-2006, 11:00 AM
 
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I had shingles postpartum after my second child. Shingles has no rhyme or reason though, it can pop up any time you are a bit immune compromised.
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#6 of 15 Old 10-03-2006, 11:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATD_Mom View Post
deleria, I sure hope IUB decides it's time to escape soon!
Thank you! I believe he's too busy hatching a plan of earthly destruction to come out of his pod right now. Hopefully he'll finish up this week.

But moreso, I'm hoping this is it for you and that you're going to announce a pregnancy soon. Keeping my fingers crossed!
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#7 of 15 Old 10-03-2006, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! Wouldn't shingles be the funniest early pregnancy sign?

I can't imagine it is, though. I have absolutely no other symptoms. Besides crankiness, that is!

Come on, IUB!
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#8 of 15 Old 10-03-2006, 11:32 AM
 
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I just want to add that your immune system being compromised is a good and healthy thing. Our bodies must give a little so that they don't treat the baby like a foreign invader and attack it!

I bet that you are pregnant!

Jean, happy HS mom to Peter (5), Daniel (9) and Lucie (2) and also someone new... baby.gif
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#9 of 15 Old 10-13-2006, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should've taken you up on that bet! Two BFNs later, AF showed up.

I yet to figure out what in theeee heck caused the shingles, but ah well. Hopefully this way maybe they won't pop up when I really do get PG!
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#10 of 15 Old 10-13-2006, 06:29 PM
 
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I had shingles during this pregnancy...around 32 weeks or so. My midwife told me that it was probably caused by the combo of a slightly compromised immune system and stress.
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#11 of 15 Old 10-16-2006, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well ... after reading your entire pregnancy blog (what can I say, I got sucked in!) the other day, I found the shingles part and - it's crazy, yours was exactly where mine was. Right beneath my bra strap. But mine was on the left side.

Hope that babe stays inside just as long as you want him to!
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#12 of 15 Old 10-16-2006, 07:23 PM
 
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I realize that the question here is already answered (in terms of pregnancy causing the shingles or not). But I thought I'd add something here about the immune system during pregnancy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by velveeta View Post
I just want to add that your immune system being compromised is a good and healthy thing. Our bodies must give a little so that they don't treat the baby like a foreign invader and attack it!
This is what I was going to say. It's absolutely right. Although I would call it suppression, not a compromised immune system. It's working exactly as it's supposed to. For me, the suppression of the immune system is a wonderful thing. I have MS, and I tend to feel better when I'm pregnant.

Christie

Christie ~ proud Mama to : 5/01, and : 3/07; and proud wife to my since 1992. We have 13 and 2 : It's looking more and more like either a farm or a zoo around here.
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#13 of 15 Old 10-17-2006, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for adding that. Suppressed does make a lot more sense than compromised.

That's great news your MS is better when you're pregnant. I can understand, after meeting a woman the other day who has Reynaud's Syndrome (in her hands and feet). She mentioned it's better - almost non-existent - when she is pregnant.

Every once in a while I have funny little illness pop up - ones out of the ordinary, which the docs can find absolutely no cause for. They say I have no immune system abnormalities, but I'm not convinced. Really looking forward to seeing how my system reacts to a pregnancy. Whenever that may finally be.
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#14 of 15 Old 10-17-2006, 06:16 PM
 
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I've had shingles and they were horribly painful. They erupt on your skin at nerve endings. It's sort of like having an open wound from a burn. If it doesn't feel like anything at all I bet it isn't shingles!
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#15 of 15 Old 10-17-2006, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oops. Sorry, I never specifically said it in this thread: It is/was shingles. I went to the local MD, and it was confirmed. I told him I didn't understand, as there was no pain - but he said some people just luck out and only get the skin part of it. So he sent me home with some cream to stop the itching, telling me I may feel the real pain after my skin clears up. The sores have all but gone away, so I'm crossing my fingers the pain never comes.

Three members of my family have had shingles in the past few years, and from everything I have witnessed and have heard, I do know it is usually absolutely excruciating. So sorry to hear when anyone has to experience it.
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