(KUTV)- Cytomegalovirus (CMV ) is a common virus that about half of people in the US have by the time they are 40. About 1 in 3 children under 5 have CMV. For people that have been exposed to CMV earlier, it usually stays inactive or dormant, but it can reactivate. Nurse Al Romeo with the Utah Department of Health explains how this can impact a pregnancy and breastfeeding women.
Having CMV for the first time during pregnancy and possibly having a reactivation of CMV during pregnancy increases the chance of having a baby with developmental delays, hearing loss, vision problems or loss, low birth weight, and other problems with the nervous system.
Up to half of women who get CMV during the pregnancy will pass it on to the baby, up to 10% of those babies will have symptoms, and up to 15% of those babies will have those problems. The chances of CMV affecting the brain, hearing, and vision are higher if the infection is during the first trimester. There is a test for CMV and women can talk to their doctor about it.
When people are infected with CMV, they may not have symptoms, but those symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, and being tired. CMV is passed through body fluids and there is no vaccine or treatment.
To reduce the chance of getting CMV, especially for women who work with small children:
- wash hands after changing diapers
- clean toys and surfaces where children may place their hands or mouths
- don’t share food, drink, or eating utensils
- avoid kissing children on the mouth in childcare settings
If baby is born full term and healthy, and mom gets CMV, mom can continue to breastfeed. The baby may get sick, but they usually don’t get very sick and don’t have the complications that are seen if mom gets CMV during pregnancy.
If you have questions about other conditions or medications in pregnancy and breastfeeding, visit MotherToBaby.Utah.gov.