Mononucleosis is a prevalent and benign viral infection, but in pregnant women, it can have serious consequences.
We will discuss in this article all you need to know to take care of yourself and prevent it.
Can you have mononucleosis in pregnancy? As a mother, it is a question that you will ask yourself, among many other doubts. You may also wonder if it will affect your baby when you get sick.
Mononucleosis is a common infectious disease that can spread to anyone. This includes pregnant women. Furthermore, the causative agent is not a single virus.
In the specific case of pregnant women, the pathology carries some added risks with consequences for the fetus.
We state everything you should know about mononucleosis in pregnancy, and why you have to be very careful at this stage.
Table of Contents
What Is Mononucleosis?
Mononucleosis is also known as kissing disease. It is an infectious pathology produced by different types of viruses, which are transmitted from person to person through saliva and other bodily secretions.
In general, it is benign and self-resolving. This means that it does not leave sequelae and that it heals after a time, even without receiving treatment.
Once the immune system fights the virus and expels it, the problem is over.
The two viruses that cause the vast majority of mononucleosis cases are Epstein-Barr and Cytomegalovirus.
It can take place at any age and anyone, it is correct 95% of people over the age of 40 have already had this pathology and have generated immunity.
These data reveal that it is a disease that usually affects children and adolescents. Once it overcomes, the acquired immunity lasts for life and protects us for future contacts with infectious agents.
After having our blood in contact with the mononucleosis viruses, we generate immunity for life.
Symptoms Of Mononucleosis In Pregnancy
The type of symptoms and the intensity with which they occur vary from person to person. The disease is usually incubated in about 10 to 14 days, during which there are no symptoms.
However, there are records of up to a month of incubation.
After the initial period, the signs begin gradually. Mononucleosis in pregnancy does not differ in its presentation from what happens to a non-pregnant person.
Once they appear, it is common for symptoms to last between 2 and 4 weeks, with the following being more common:
- Fever, which ranges from a few tenths or higher.
- Sore throat and headache, because the virus affects the mucosa of the pharynx. Tonsillitis and pharyngitis occur.
- General tiredness with extreme fatigue. There is a feeling of heaviness of muscles and extremities that prevents daily activities.
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes that felt on extended tours of the body. The most frequent areas in which we can observe this are the armpits, the neck, and the groin.
Sometimes the liver and spleen can become inflamed. The increase in their size makes them palpable in an abdominal examination when it is normal for them to be challenging to find by physical examination.
Risks And Consequences Of Mononucleosis In Pregnancy
In most cases, mononucleosis is a condition that does not cause complications. As we have said, it is usually self-resolving, and, after a few weeks, the symptoms disappear.
It is such a benign condition that many are not even aware that they are suffering from it, and the infection proceeds without any problem.
That explains the immunity acquired in adulthood without knowing the precise moment in which it generated.
However, in the case of pregnant women, some precautions must be taken. Both cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus can pass to the fetus through the placenta.
The development of the baby in the womb is a very delicate stage. If a virus comes into contact during embryogenesis, there can be severe consequences.
In the case of mononuclesosis pregnancy, a problem occurs when the mother acquires the infection and has not gone through it before.
The most delicate moment is the first trimester of pregnancy. This is the stage when all of the baby’s organs are developing.
If the mother becomes infected in the first trimester and transmits it to the fetus, this can have fatal consequences.
Some of the sequelae that these viruses can produce in the baby are deafness and microcephaly.
Furthermore, the Epstein-Barr virus is associated with premature labor. This means that it increases the chances of early labor, with the baby leaving the womb before he is ready.
Preterm labor is a consequence of Epstein-Barr virus infections in pregnant women.
Prevention As A General Rule
Although mononucleosis is not usually a severe disease, it can cause serious side effects for the baby during pregnancy.
Some tests are carried out on pregnant women, in which it is possible to know if they have already generated immunity against this type of virus.
If the pregnant woman has not passed the infection, she must take extreme precautions.
You will have to be very careful when you are around people with compatible symptoms, and ideally, you should not share objects for personal use.
On the other hand, if you notice any compatible symptoms, you should go to the specialist as soon as possible. And the faster the diagnosis, the lower the chances that the fetus will be affected.