Don’t forget to read the previous part, CMV Diagnosis and Symptoms.

Why are we concerned about a cytomegalovirus infection during pregnancy?

A cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection between a mother and her baby is one of the most frequent viral infections during pregnancy. If the mother is infected when young, the virus can be reactivated and lead to fetal problems. If the future mother is infected for the first time during her pregnancy (primary infection), this is even likelier. Half of babies will be infected through their mother’s blood in this case, and the impact will be more dramatic.

The more severe impact of primary infection in the mother can, in the worst cases, lead to pneumonia, duodenal ulcers, cervical infection or blindness.

At the start of pregnancy, the more severe impact of an infection for an in utero baby (congenital infection) can lead to termination or serious complications. Later in pregnancy, developmental delays, growth delays, premature birth, central nervous system defects, serious jaundice caused by kidney (hepatic) lesions, and deafness can occur. We think that 30% of defects in newborn babies are due to the CMV virus. Also, even if the baby is born without clinical signs, 6% to 25% of them will show neurological (mental or psychomotor delays) and sensorial (hearing loss) aftereffects within the first two years.

The possible impact of a CMV infection in a baby during the neonatal period, contracted after birth, can be just as serious, especially if they’re premature. The repercussions can vary depending on the specific affliction, with liver and blood complications for example.

Continue reading with Treating and Preventing CMV.

Illustration by Anton Gorovits

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