I'm 28 wks pregnant and have just found out my son has slapped cheek disease and have heard this can be dangerous for my unborn baby. What is the chance of it affecting my baby?

Slapped cheek (otherwise known as Fifth Disease or parvovirus) is common in outbreaks in schools and nurseries in Europe from October to May. The good news is that if you are 28 weeks pregnant, even if you were to develop the infection it would be very unlikely to affect your baby at all. It is quite possible that you are immune-and therefore won't develop it anyway. Parvovirus can be dangerous to the unborn child only if you develop the infection between 10 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. It may cause miscarriage, or affect baby's red blood cell production leading to anaemia in baby. Severe anaemia can lead to hydrops (fluid accumulating in baby's lungs, abdomen and under the skin) which is a more severe condition requiring fetal blood transfusion in-utero. However, the chances of this happening are less than 5%-even if you did develop the infection. Fetal aanemia cannot happen if you get the infection after 20 weeks. So, if you did develop the infection at 10-20 weeks we would recommend scan monitoring every week or two in a fetal medicine unit. Scan will normally continue for up to 12 weeks after you had clinical signs of the virus. Nevertheless, if you do develop the parvovirus infection after 20 weeks, you might be offered a scan for reassurance that there are no problems with baby.
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