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Fifths Disease and pregnancy

5680 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  lauren
Does anyone have experience with the real risk level for pregnant women after exposure to Fifths Disease. My son came down with it this week and I was exposed before I knew (the tell-tale rash comes after they are contagious and by then you are exposed already). My midwife had me get blood drawn to find out my level of immunity to it.

Anyone know of any alternative health things to try? I'm taking echinacea to boost my immunity, but I can't find much about this illness in the alternative health places I usually use.
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Two of my kids had 5th when I was about 14 weeks. I turned out to have had it at some time previously, so it wasn't an issue, although I did have weeks of worrying, since you're supposed to wait about a month before testing to see if you have had a recent exposure, and then it took over a week for my test results to come back. Grrr.

Anyway, iirc it's something like 10-20% chance that the baby would get sick if you aren't immune and had picked it up this time. But, not all babies that get sick in utero get horribly sick; it can be mild in the fetus, and have no lasting affect. Occasionally it's severe.

5th was only recognized officially in the 80's, since it's such a mild illness in children, despite it being very common. Chances are you had it as a child, as I apparently did, but weren't diagnosed.
I'm about 31 weeks pregnant and contracted fiths disease around my 15 week or so... i got the blood test back and it was positive so i was sent to a perinatoligist to get a leavel two ultra sound... everything turned out fine but there is around a 15% chance that it will efect the iron leavels in the baby and it can be corected if found in the u/s... do as your dr/midwife says and if you do end up with it take the steps needed to be sure the baby is health!!! Good luck and let us know when you get the results back!!
Most people have already had 5th disease as a child, but they don't remember it because it wasn't a big deal.

My understanding is that the danger during pregnancy comes at the end; the later in pregnancy a woman who has never had it is exposed, the more likely it is to cause problems for the baby. It's especially dangerous if you're at/close to delivery. Apparently it's much more dangerous for a newborn than for a baby in utero.
I was also exposed to 5ths when I was about 13 or 14 weeks pregnant. I chose not to find out if I was immune or not because if it turned out that I didnt have antibodies I would have to see a specialist and have sonograms for 8 - 12 weeks after exposure to check for hydrops.

What I read on the very few websites I was able to find is that there is a 25% (or so) chance that the baby will contract the virus and of that 25% only about 10% will have problems from it. The biggest problem would be miscarriage or stillbirth and another problem could be severe anemia at birth. If it is found that the baby is developing hydrops in utero the only treatment that there is right now is an experimental inutero blood transfusion that isnt even offered in all areas.

Anyways, here are the only 2 websites that I found that were really of any help and they are what pretty much convinced me to not even bother getting the antibody test in the first place. Hope they help you out some.
I am currently 22 weeks. 5th's went through my son's school about 2 months ago and lingered for those two months, cycling through kid after kid, after adult, etc. 2 months ago I was tested because I wanted to know if I had anything to be concerned about, assuming that my ds would eventually get it. I thought I'd be immune because I was a preschool teacher for years. Nope. I was negative. My son got the telltale rash a month ago. I tested again about two weeks ago. Turns out I am now positive, proving that I acquired the disease during the last two months of this pregnancy.

I see CNMs at a free standing birth center. They essentially said that there is nothing really that can be done. If I wanted the serial ultrasounds to reassure myself, that was available to me. She recommended at least one or two in the next 20 weeks of the pregnancy.

here is an article with a little more info. One of the curious things it says is that the AFP test done a few times over time detects (supposedly) the possibility of fifth's. Since it is has a notoriously high false positive rate for the other things it tests for in healthy pregnant women, I opted to avoid the anxiety.

Good health to us all and our babes!
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Thanks for posting that link! I hadnt seen that one and will add it to my little collection on 5ths disease links!

Thats really cool that your midwife was (or seemed to be) so laid back about the situation. Mine was too, and I was happy to be able to make the choice I did (which was to do absolutely nothing) and not be pressured into something else.

Good luck with your pregnancy and baby! Id like to hear how things turn out with the sonograms if you get a chance to update.
Thanks for those great links. They were much more detailed than anything I had been able to find. They were sort of a relief and sort of a worry too...I guess I won't know until early this week. From what everyone says, it also sounds like the only good result for now would be if I have previous immunity. If I don't I'd probably have to have blood drawn again in a few weeks. I will try to stay focused on the present--since I don't have enough information to worry yet! I have a midwife appt. next Wed., which is actually my first (I'm a little late at 16 weeks

Good luck to those of you already exposed. THanks again and I'll post my results this week.
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