|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Fifth's Disease and Pregnancy

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: My son had red cheeks for two days. I was told it might be Fifth's disease. I was also told that it is harmful for pregnant women and I am seven months pregnant. He has no other symptoms and I don't know what I should do.

A: Fifth's disease is a viral illness that is caused by Parvovirus. The usual symptoms of an infection with Parvovirus are mild fever, some malaise, muscle aches and possibly headaches, and then approximately seven or ten days later a rash develops which is a bright red facial rash on both cheeks. This is sometimes referred to as a "slapped-cheek" appearance because the cheeks are so bright red. Some children will also have a rash on their arms and legs that comes and goes. However, there are also some people who don't really have many symptoms other than signs of a slight cold.

It is true that there is a possible risk to the fetus if a woman is infected with Parvovirus during the pregnancy, however, this risk is very, very low. First of all, this risk is higher in the first half of the pregnancy than in the second half of the pregnancy. The other thing to keep in mind is that the majority of adults already have had Parvovirus or been exposed to it, and thus have developed antibodies to it and will not get it again. Thus more than half of pregnant women are not even susceptible to it.

Thus it is very unlikely that you will have any problem if your child does indeed end up having Fifth's disease. The other thing that you should know is that by the time the red rash on the face develops, the child is no longer contagious. Therefore it does not make sense to try and stay away from your son at this point or to prevent his exposure to other people. You should talk with your obstetrician in order to determine if she would like to do any further studies to verify that the baby is doing fine.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Earth Day Books for Children
Celebrate the environment by reading some of these great children's books about Earth Day, recycling, planting trees, and all things green!

Prom Dress Trends for 2014
Check out 2014 prom dress trends inspired by celebrities’ red carpet looks, but with a price tag under $100!