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Monkeypox and Pregnancy: What You Need To Know

monkeypox and pregnancy_what you need to know
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Just as the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic have started to die down, a new threat has come to light: monkeypox. This disease, which is similar to smallpox, has been found in some parts of Africa and Asia. And like smallpox, it can be deadly.

In this blog post, we will go over about monkeypox and pregnancy risks that can affect women and their children.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a zoonotic virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans. The monkeypox virus is closely related to smallpox and causes similar, but usually less severe, symptoms.

Monkeypox primarily occurs in central and west Africa near tropical rainforests, but it has appeared more frequently in urban areas. The monkeypox virus can infect a variety of animals, including rodents and non-human primates.

Monkeypox is considered a public health threat because, with the eradication of smallpox, it is now the most important orthopox virus.

There is no specific treatment for monkeypox and no vaccination available, so prevention is the best strategy for protecting against the virus. Good hygiene practices, such as washing hands and avoiding contact with infected animals or people, are essential for preventing monkeypox transmission.

Monkeypox and Pregnancy: What Are the Risks?

monkeypox and pregnancy

Pregnant women are at increased risk for monkeypox because of hormonal changes that can weaken the immune system. Additionally, pregnancy can make it difficult to treat the infection due to the lack of safe and effective medications.

The good news is that monkeypox is rarely fatal, and most women who contract the monkeypox virus will recover without any long-term effects. However, pregnant women should still take precautions to avoid exposure to infected animals or people.

Monkeypox is believed to be capable of crossing the placenta and infecting the fetus. There is no specific cure available for pregnant women who are infected with the monkeypox virus. The monkeypox vaccine was just approved for use to prevent the monkeypox disease and its risk factors. Women who have had this vaccine prior to pregnancy are at lower risk of experiencing fetal harm. 

Monkeypox is a serious disease, and pregnant women are at increased risk for complications. However, with proper precautions and prompt treatment, most women will recover without any long-term effects.

One woman in the United States developed monkeypox during pregnancy but was able to give birth to a healthy baby. However, this case is considered an exception and not the norm, in cases where pregnant women get infected with the virus. After all, pregnant women infected with this disease are very likely to pass on the virus to their unborn children.

So, what are the other possible consequences of acquiring monkeypox during pregnancy? Let us find out below:

Stillbirths

One of the most common consequences of monkeypox infection during pregnancy is stillbirth. This is because the monkeypox virus can cross the placenta and infect the fetus, leading to fetal death. Monkeypox is also known to cause preterm labor, which can further increase the risk of stillbirths.

Spontaneous Abortion

Monkeypox can also cause spontaneous abortion, which is when a pregnancy ends on its own before 20 weeks gestation. This is because the monkeypox virus can cause severe damage to the placenta, leading to the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. 

Monkeypox infection can also lead to placental insufficiency, which is when the placenta does not provide enough oxygen and nutrients to the fetus.

Miscarriage

Miscarriage is another possible consequence of monkeypox infection during pregnancy. This is because the virus can cause inflammation of the uterus, which can lead to the premature expulsion of the fetus. 

Monkeypox infection can also cause uterine rupture, which is a serious complication that can be life-threatening for both the mother and the fetus. 

Congenital Infections

Congenital infections pertain to infections that are passed from the mother to the fetus during pregnancy. Monkeypox infection can cause congenital monkeypox, which is a serious infection that can lead to congenital disabilities, stillbirths, and neonatal death. Skin-to-skin contact with people who have monkeypox should be avoided to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Pregnant women who develop monkeypox should be closely monitored by their healthcare provider. If you think you have been exposed to monkeypox, please contact your healthcare provider immediately to avoid pregnancy loss.

Neonatal Monkeypox

Another possible consequence of monkeypox virus infection during pregnancy is neonatal monkeypox. This is a serious infection that can cause severe respiratory distress, organ failure, and death in newborn babies. Pregnancy loss is expected in some cases of monkeypox virus infections in pregnancy.

If you have monkeypox and are breastfeeding, you should contact your doctor. They will evaluate the threat of transmission as well as the risks of stopping breastfeeding.

If you are able to breastfeed and have close contact, they will tell you how to reduce the risk by taking measures such as covering your lesions and wearing a mask. The risk of infection should be balanced with the potential harm caused by not breastfeeding and not having close contact between parent and child.

There is no solid evidence yet that proves that the monkeypox virus can be spread from parent to child through breastmilk. In most cases, there is no need to interrupt breastfeeding. However, following your healthcare provider’s recommendations is important. Disease control and prevention must always be a priority at all times.

What Are the Symptoms of Monkeypox on Pregnant Women?

monkey and pregnancy_its effect on pregnant moms

Monkeypox infection can affect people of all ages. However, it is more dangerous for pregnant women, young children, and people who are immunocompromised. Monkeypox is a viral infection that is characterized by fever, headache, muscle aches, and chills. 

Other symptoms include fatigue, sore throat, red eyes, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. Disease control and prevention should always be a priority to avoid the human monkeypox infection.

Monkeypox can also cause severe respiratory distress, organ failure, and death in both pregnant women and their unborn babies. Rashes will start to develop on the face and then spread to other parts of the body. Monkeypox can also cause hemorrhagic complications and bleeding under the skin, which can lead to bruising and scarring. 

Maternal and fetal outcomes will be drastic if disease control is not implemented. Spontaneous pregnancy loss is a huge risk for a pregnant woman who has acquired monkeypox.

Lesions will also form all over the body, and these can be either blisters or ulcers. The lesions are flat when they first appear. However, they will be filled with liquid and then crust over after some time. The crust will eventually fall off once they have dried up.

Symptoms of monkeypox typically last two to three weeks. Most people will recover on their own or with supportive care, such as medication for pain or fever. However, people with monkeypox remain infectious until all of the lesions have crusted over and the scabs have fallen off.

A new layer of skin will need to form underneath before the person is no longer considered infectious. For most people, this process takes around two weeks. However, some may experience symptoms for longer periods of time. If you have any concerns, it is best to speak with a medical professional.

How Is Monkeypox Spread From One Person to Another?

monkey and pregnancy_how the disease can affect pregnant women

Monkeypox is a highly contagious disease, and it can be spread through direct contact with an infected person or animal. It can also be spread through contact with contaminated objects such as bedding, clothing, or furniture. Monkeypox can also be spread through the air, and it is thought to be more infectious than smallpox.

The incubation period for monkeypox is usually between two and four weeks. This means that there is a two- to a four-week period between when a person is exposed to the virus and when they start to experience symptoms.

Monkeypox can be passed through contact with infected bodily fluids, such as blood, saliva, or mucus. It can also be spread through close contact with an infected person, such as kissing or hugging.

The best way to prevent monkeypox is to avoid contact with people or animals who are known to be infected. It is also important to avoid contact with contaminated objects. If you think you have been exposed to monkeypox, it is important to wash your hands and clothing as soon as possible.

You should also avoid close contact with other people until you have been cleared by a medical professional. Monkeypox is a serious disease, and it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you think you have been exposed.

Can People Die From Monkeypox?

While monkeypox usually goes away on its own, it can be fatal in some cases. Monkeypox is more likely to be fatal in children under the age of five and babies. Monkeypox is also more likely to be fatal in pregnant women and people who are immunocompromised.

The overall death rate from monkeypox is between one and ten percent. Despite these statistics, it is still important to take caution and seek medical attention if you think you or your child has been exposed to monkeypox. This way, you can get the best possible treatment and care.

How Do Animals Spread Monkeypox to People?

Monkeypox is most commonly spread to people through contact with infected animals. The virus is thought to circulate among several animal species, including rodents and primates. Monkeypox can also be spread to people through contact with infected meat.

It is thought that the majority of monkeypox infections in Africa are caused by exposure to infected bushmeat. Bushmeat is any meat that comes from wild animals, such as monkeys, rats, or antelope. Monkeypox can also affect people through contact with infected animals in zoos.

How Is Monkeypox Treated?

There is no specific treatment for monkeypox. Antibiotics may be used to treat secondary bacterial infections. Treatment for monkeypox focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting the patient through the illness.

It is trickier to deal with monkeypox in pregnant women because there is a higher risk of complications. Monkeypox can cause pregnant women to miscarry or to have a premature delivery. If you are pregnant and think you have been exposed to monkeypox, you must go to your doctor immediately. This way, there is a higher chance of you and your baby receiving the best possible care.

While pregnant women cannot receive vaccinations and medications that are given to prevent or treat the symptoms of monkeypox, they can still take some steps to protect themselves.

For instance, they can isolate themselves from other people as much as possible to reduce the risk of exposure. They should also avoid contact with animals, especially wild animals.

Pregnant women must stay in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask when they are around other people. Monkeypox is a serious disease, and it is important to take all necessary precautions if you are pregnant and think you have been exposed.

Pregnant women who have already contracted monkeypox must drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. They should also rest as much as possible to help their bodies recover. Exercising once they feel well enough to move around is also important to help them regain their strength.

If pregnant women develop lesions or rashes, they should avoid touching them. If they do touch them, they must wash their hands immediately to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for the best possible outcome.

Will the Monkeypox Outbreak Become as Widespread as the COVID-19 Pandemic?

monkeypox and pregnancy_how pregnant women could stay safe

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is not as contagious as some other infections like COVID 19, and can be controlled with prompt medical treatment and isolation of patients. We have a window of opportunity to stop this outbreak in its tracks, but it will require close cooperation from communities and groups at higher risk for exposure.

It is essential for everyone to be aware of the risks and take action to lower their chances of being infected. By working together, we can bring this outbreak under control and protect the health of our communities.

Does Having Monkeypox in the Past Make a Person Immune to It?

Unfortunately, there is no concrete evidence that supports that a person who has had monkeypox in the past is immune to it. The virus can lie dormant in a person’s body for years and then reemerge when their immunity is lowered. This makes it difficult to say definitively whether or not someone who has had monkeypox in the past is immune to it.

According to the World Health Organization, people who have acquired monkeypox in the past must still remain vigilant to the risks and take precautions to protect themselves from infection. After all, there are no assurances that immunity is guaranteed once a person has already contracted monkeypox in the past.

Similarly, there is no evidence that proves that acquiring chickenpox in the past will guarantee immunity from monkeypox. This is because chickenpox is caused by the varicella virus, which is not the same as the monkeypox virus.

Why Is Monkeypox Called Monkeypox?

The disease monkeypox is aptly named, as it was first identified in colonies of monkeys kept for research in 1958. It was only later detected in humans in 1970. The close resemblance between the two diseases caused many to initially believe that monkeypox was simply a milder form of smallpox.

However, further study has revealed that monkeypox is actually a much different disease. While both Monkeypox and smallpox are caused by viruses belonging to the Orthopoxvirus genus, they are two distinct species. 

Monkeypox is generally much less severe than smallpox, with a mortality rate of around 1-10%. Nevertheless, it can still be deadly in some cases, particularly in young children and those with weakened immune systems.

Conclusion

Monkeypox and pregnancy can be a dangerous combination. If you are pregnant and think you may have been exposed to monkeypox, it is important to seek medical help right away. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but early diagnosis and supportive care can improve your chances of recovery.

Pregnant women must do everything they can to ensure they don’t contract monkeypox. This way, they won’t end up putting their unborn child’s health at risk. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid contact with people who are showing symptoms of monkeypox or people who have already been diagnosed with monkeypox.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can monkeypox affect pregnancy?

Yes, monkeypox can affect pregnancy. Monkeypox is particularly dangerous for pregnant women because their immune systems are already weakened. This makes them more susceptible to serious infections. Plus, monkeypox can also cause other serious complications such as stillbirth, low birth weight, and preterm labor.

Does my smallpox vaccine protect me from monkeypox?

Yes, the smallpox vaccine has an 85% effectiveness rate of protecting against monkeypox. However, it is still possible to contract monkeypox even if you have been vaccinated for smallpox. This is because the vaccine does not offer 100% protection. Also, it's important to note that the vaccine should be given within four days from the day of exposure. If it is given between 4-14 days after exposure, the vaccine will only have a chance of reducing the disease's symptoms but will no longer be able to prevent the disease from occurring.

Is monkeypox fatal to pregnant women?

Yes, monkeypox can be fatal to pregnant women. This is because pregnant women's immune systems are already weakened, making them more susceptible to serious infections. Monkeypox is a particularly dangerous infection for pregnant women because it can cause severe congenital disabilities in their unborn child.

What should pregnant women do to avoid monkeypox?

In order to avoid monkeypox, pregnant women should avoid contact with people who are showing symptoms of monkeypox or people who have already been diagnosed with monkeypox.

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What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, and rash. The rash typically begins on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body. Monkeypox can also cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.

Is monkeypox curable?

While there is no specific cure for monkeypox, early diagnosis and supportive care can improve your chances of recovery. Monkeypox is usually less severe than smallpox, with a mortality rate of around only one to ten percent. However, it can still be deadly in some cases, particularly in young children and those with weakened immune systems. Treatments administered to people who have contracted monkeypox are aimed to deal with the symptoms of this disease. This way, the person will feel more comfortable while their immune system fights off the infection. There is currently no specific cure for monkeypox.

Why are monkeypox and pregnancy a dangerous combination?

Monkeypox and pregnancy is a dangerous combination because monkeypox can cause severe congenital disabilities for children in the womb. Monkeypox is particularly dangerous for pregnant women because their immune systems are already weakened. This makes them more susceptible to serious infections. Plus, monkeypox can also cause other serious complications such as stillbirth, low birth weight, and preterm labor.

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