Dr. Rosemary Leonard answers a question about chickenpox with an unborn baby in the company of Emma Howard.
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Emma Howard: Hello! We are answering questions on health and medical problems. I am joined by Dr. Rosemary Leonard. Hello! Dr. Rosemary Leonard: Hello! Emma Howard: We have got quite a common question here I think but one that people do get very anxious about, from a mom who is two months pregnant with her second child, she has got a three-year old son and her little boy has just caught chicken pox, so she is saying I am worried about catching it from him because she has never had it herself. Would her unborn baby be at risk? Dr. Rosemary Leonard: At this stage in the pregnancy, the answer is yes it could be and she needs to go and get checked out straight away whether or not she has had chicken pox or whether she is immune to it and that means having a blood test and normally you can get these test on very rapidly under this sort of circumstance, find out if she has got antibodies to the virus that causes chickenpox, and if she is still susceptible to it, if she hasn't got antibodies she cannot actually be given a jab that would help protect her and stop her catching chicken pox from her son. Emma Howard: Can she have that jab even though she is pregnant? Dr. Rosemary Leonard: Yes it's ready made antibodies which are protective against chicken pox, so she could have that and then once she has had the baby, well she could then have it particularly if she plans to have any more children, is have vaccination against chicken pox, but it's quite surprising. In fact a lot of people don't think they have had chicken pox and they actually have, they have had it and what I try and do with all my moms is say to them, keep a record of your children's illness is, keep it in a safe place and when they are older, give it to them because you never know when they are going to come out with a question like this, have I had German Measles, have I had chicken pox, have I had this. Emma Howard: Because they couldn't remember really, although the mom will remember or dad will remember. Dr. Rosemary Leonard: And quite often, if you are mom and you have three children and then when they are in their 20s they say by the way did I have this. So it's actually one the kindest things I think you can do for your children is actually keep a very good health record of diseases they have had. Emma Howard: And if you are planning a pregnancy you can actually check out your immunity before hand, can't you, I mean, if you say have the vaccination. Dr. Rosemary Leonard: Yes you can do, but if you had the vaccination, like the vaccination for the German Measles you need to wait a couple of months before you get pregnant, but very much better safe than sorry. Emma Howard: But it's interesting to hear you said that if you were pregnant and you don't have the antibodies then you get a set for vaccination just off antibodies. Dr. Rosemary Leonard: Yes an antibody injection. Emma Howard: Because we really want to say that chicken pox is at risk to a woman in the early stages of -- Dr. Rosemary Leonard: Yes it's up until about the 20th week of pregnancy that chicken pox can be dangerous, not always. It's not universal. It's not nearly as dangerous as say German Measles. If it was then I think we would have a routine vaccination campaign for it in this country. It's not always dangerous, but occasionally it can be so it is important to know -- Emma Howard: And none of us want to take the risk. Dr. Rosemary Leonard: No, absolutely and she would worry all the way through her pregnancy, so she needs to get it sorted out. Emma Howard: Thank your Rosemary for answering that question. If you have a similar problem we hope we might have given you some help, but remember it's always best to go and see your own doctor for medical advice. Thanks for watching and we will back with more health questions and answers.