We wanted to share this link because we think it is important for new moms and expectant mothers to be aware of.
Cytomegalovirus and Pregnancy
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a member of the herpes virus family. It’s the virus most frequently passed on to babies during pregnancy. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 1 percent of babies are born with the infection, a condition called congenital CMV.
Most babies with congenital CMV have no problems from the condition. But some are very ill at birth and may end up with a number of long-term problems. Others may seem fine initially but develop hearing loss and other complications from the infection months or even years later. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1 in 750 babies are born with or develop disabilities as a result of congenital CMV.
What are my chances of transmitting the infection to my baby if I’ve been infected with CMV?
It depends on when you first became infected with the virus. At least 50 percent of women already have antibodies to CMV before they get pregnant, meaning they were previously infected. (Most people with CMV don’t develop any symptoms, so you probably wouldn’t know if you’d ever been infected.)
Like other herpes viruses, CMV remains dormant in your body after your initial infection. The virus can later become reactivated, particularly if your immune system is compromised, resulting in what’s known as a recurrent CMV infection.
Fortunately, the risk of passing the virus to your baby during a recurrent infection is very low (the CDC estimates it to be about 1 percent) and the risk of serious complications is even lower. So if you got your first CMV infection at least six months before you conceived, the risk to your baby from CMV is very small.
However, if you become infected for the first time during pregnancy, the chance of passing the virus to your baby is much higher. About 1 to 4 percent of previously uninfected women have a first (or primary) CMV infection during pregnancy. Among these women there’s about a 30 to 50 percent chance that the baby will become infected in the womb. And the chance that the baby will end up with serious health problems from the virus is also much higher.