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Slapped Cheeks

(38 Posts)
Hmonty Sun 18-Nov-01 19:28:46

Does anyone have any information about the effect of slapped cheek disease (fifth disease or erythema infection) on pregnant women. I think my youngest has it (generally under the weather, 'slapped' red cheeks, slight fever) and I've read that it's bad for pregnant women to come into contact. I currently 20 weeks. says this is due to an increased risk of miscarriage but I can't find anything else out anywhere. The site also says that the infectious period is before the rash appears, so I suppose there's not a lot I can do.....My eldest had this December last year when we were on holiday and I ended up miscarrying in January (who knows if this was related or not) so as you can imagine I'm getting myself in a bit of a state.
Any advice gratefully received.

Suew Sun 18-Nov-01 20:50:50

Hmonty, I don't know anything about it sorry. But it would make sense to me that if you did pick it up from your eldest last year you would have immunity now. As you say, you have no way of knowing whether you did unfortunately.

Would your midwife do a blood test to check for immunity?

Thinking of you - fingers crossed.

Chanelno5 Sun 18-Nov-01 21:39:42

Hmonty - sorry to hear that you are so worried. I had similar worries about chicken pox and toxoplasmosis during my pregnancies, so I really understand how upsetting it is, and especially so for you after what happened last time.

I did a quick search on Google and from what I read, it seems that if you do catch it during the first trimester of pregnancy (some say up to 20 wks), there is a small risk (less than 10%) that it may cause foetal damage, including miscarriage.

As Suew said, you may well have caught it last year from your eldest, and if so once you have had it you have lifetime immunity. Adults with the disease may show no, or only mild symptoms. Yes, you can have a blood test to check your immunity, so perhaps you may feel better if you see your GP or midwife and get them to arrange one for you.

I did find a site which you might find helpful as it seems to have quite alot of info about the disease in pregnancy (fifths disease is another name for it).

Hope you find this useful, I'll keep looking to see if I can find anything else.

Chanelno5 Sun 18-Nov-01 22:10:00

I've found a couple more sites with info that you might find reassuring, they are
I found quite alot on Google, though some is exactly the same on different sites.

Bugsy Tue 20-Nov-01 10:40:28

Hmonty, it is very possible that you have had slapped check already yourself, in which case your baby will be protected by your own immunity. It is an incredibly common illness. I checked in my baby books and the risk of fetal damage at 20 weeks is very low as all organs, spine etc are formed. Only really horrible things like syphillis seem able to pose a serious threat now.
Would it be worth going to see your GP for some reassurance.
Good luck

EmmaM Mon 04-Mar-02 08:48:08

I think my ds has slapped cheek disease - can anyone confirm symptoms please. The week before last he was slightly off colour, dodgy tum, more tired than usual, off his food. Last week he seemed to be better, but still tired and grumpy. Then Saturday night he woke up and had the reddest cheeks I have seen since he was teething (he's not teething, he's nearly 3). They seemed to go down again by Sunday morning, but he still has a bit of blush to his cheeks. I think it probably is slapped cheek, but wanted to know what symptoms other people's children had. I guess its that time of year again for these things. I seem to remember hand, foot and mouth and croup all occured early Spring. Thanks

lou33 Mon 04-Mar-02 12:34:41

That sounds pretty much like it Emma. One of mine had it, but they weren't "poorly" as such, just a bit off colour. I seem to remember she was off school for about a week then she was fine.

lulu40 Mon 04-Mar-02 14:11:22

My ds had it when he was around 18 months to 2 years - he got red face and had a bit of temperature. He was not particularly bothered by it alghough his face did remain red for some time and the following summer his face would sometime flare up in the exact way as when he had slapped cheeks (not just hot). I did some reading on it at the time and he can stay in the system for quite some time which is why extremes in temperature can sometimes bring back the slapped cheek appearance.

mollipops Wed 06-Mar-02 05:42:11

Hi EmmaM
The rash on the cheeks is usually the first symptom, followed by a rash on the shoulders, arms and thighs a day or so later. Other symptoms are generally feeling unwell, itchiness, fever and slightly loose BM's. It can last a month or more and can come and go. As lulu40 says, it can recur in warmer weather or after a warm bath or exercise. It sounds like it could be what your ds has...I hope he's feeling better soon!
Btw does anyone know if Hmonty's bub was okay?

EmmaM Wed 06-Mar-02 08:22:54

Thanks. The rash hasn't reoccured, but he's still tired and grumpy and off his food again. Just not quite his usual self. Interesting you say about itchiness - I had noticed over the last two weeks that he complained his legs were scratchy. It sounds more and more like it is slapped cheek.

Yeah, lets hope Hmonty is OK - I can't recall seeing her posting for a while.

Marina Mon 17-Mar-03 09:05:59

Well, apart from generally wondering if all went OK for HMonty (are you out there, we posted several times on Missing Persons?) I didn't realise until I did "search board" for this that she had this potential scare. I'm 19 weeks pregnant and have a strong suspicion that ds has this illness too - especially when EmmaM mentioned the general slight itchiness. He's been grumbling about itchy knees, but had no rash until last night, when he was running a slight fever and developed scarlet cheeks. These have gone completely this morning.
Chanelno5, thanks for posting those reassuring links. I have had a sleepless night worrying about this and am trying to arrange a blood test at the hospital to check my immunity right now. Because so many people in the UK have either had slapped cheek or get it as adults and don't realise, there are apparently no British figures to give an accurate estimate of risk to unborn babies. As they say, the risk seems small...but trying telling that to someone whose last baby died at 20 weeks for reasons unknown.

Batters Mon 17-Mar-03 09:46:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bells2 Mon 17-Mar-03 09:52:01

Marina, this is terrible - as Batters says, not what you need at all. Best of luck for the hospital. Hugs.

Marina Mon 17-Mar-03 10:10:12

Thanks, B & B. The US information is much more positive about the small risk of Slapped Cheek causing problems, than the British, which hints darkly at a 3% risk of the baby developing anaemia and hydrops fetalis (too much water in its system). Neither of which is definitely fatal but it certainly involves a lot of extra worry and possibility of intrauterine blood transfusions for the baby, etc. I should leave that Google alone...
All depends if I am one of the 50%-60% UK adults already immune. Am hoping I was screened for it when Tom died and that I am already immune. I will find out tomorrow when I have a previously scheduled consultant's appointment. Ds was out of sorts over the weekend and spent a lot of the time cuddled up on the sofa with me, which I think probably means I've been exposed.
Talk about it never rains but it pours.

CAM Mon 17-Mar-03 10:15:26

Dear Marina
Wishing you the best of luck with your blood test tomorrow. Lots of love and hugs.

jessi Mon 17-Mar-03 10:58:57

So sorry to read this Marina. When I was 14 weeks pregnant, there was a chance my ds could get slapped cheek as it was going round his nursery. However, I had a blood test done and I'm sure my GP told me it was only a real worry if I contracted it during the first trimester, as I was 14 weeks I was re-assured hugely. So at 19 weeks hopefully you should be OK. Good luck with the tests and try not to worry. Take care and I would agree that perhaps you should give Google a break for the moment. Jessi

Marina Mon 17-Mar-03 11:09:38

Thanks Jessi! It's my job to find stuff out for people or help them find it out for themselves and sometimes I just cannot let it lie!

tigermoth Mon 17-Mar-03 11:57:45

wishing you lots of luck with the consultant meeting tomorrow, marina. I can imagine it must be such a worry for you. Really hope that google can come up with some reassuring slapped cheek statistics.

Do tell us how your meeting goes.

janh Mon 17-Mar-03 13:25:01

Marina, I've just spotted this, what awful timing for you - do hope you can get the blood test done quickly and that all is well. (Agree with Jessi - stay away from google for a bit!)

Wills Mon 17-Mar-03 14:13:27

Marina, My thoughts go with you on this one. Good luck. Let us know about the blood tests, but also can you not get them to clarify the first trimester bit that Jessi mentioned.

jodee Tue 18-Mar-03 07:47:06

Marina, good luck with the tests today, I do so hope your mind is put at rest - let us know how it goes.

Marina Tue 18-Mar-03 11:31:55

Phew, just back from the hospital and I'm immune (I *was* screened as part of the follow-up to Tom, so no need to wait for more blood test results).
I asked my consultant and he said that Slapped Cheek/B19/Human Parvovirus/Fifth Disease is a risk to pregnancy up until 20 weeks. Small risk, but there. It does seem to go on beyond first trimester...
Thanks so much for all your kind and reassuring messages, ladies, especially Jodee, so nice to see you back! How are you doing? Are you going to see Bruce at Crystal Palace? I was, but have wimped out due to lack of SEATS (oh dear).

prufrock Tue 18-Mar-03 11:41:54

Great news Marina - you must be very relieved.

tigermoth Tue 18-Mar-03 11:47:33


bells2 Tue 18-Mar-03 12:12:20

Thank goodness!

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