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Chickenpox in pregnancy guideline update

Healthcare staff should warn pregnant women who have not had chicken pox not to expose themselves to the condition.

Updated guidelines from The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynnaecologists (RCOG) say that women should be asked about their history with the illness when booking antenatal care.

The condition complicates three in every 1,000 pregnancies although most women will have contracted the disease in childhood and so already have the required antibodies.

Co-author of the guidelines, Prof Patricia Crowley, from University College Dublin said: “Chickenpox is rare in pregnancy and many adults will have had the virus when they were younger and are therefore immune.

“However, chickenpox can be serious for your health during pregnancy and complications can arise.

“It is vital that pregnant women with symptoms of the virus should contact their GP as soon as possible and avoid contact with potentially susceptible individuals, such as other pregnant women and babies.”