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Cytomegalovirus and Pregnancy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What do I need to know about cytomegalovirus (CMV) during pregnancy?

CMV affects both adults and children. Most healthy people do not have symptoms and recover without knowing they are infected. It is important to know that if you are infected during pregnancy, CMV can infect and harm your unborn baby.

What are the risks of CMV to my unborn baby?

CMV can affect your unborn baby's nervous system. CMV may lead to hearing loss, vision loss, or delays in your child's development and learning. CMV also increases your unborn baby's risk for epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

How does CMV spread?

CMV spreads through contact with body fluids, such as saliva, urine, tears, or semen of an infected person. Pregnant women are most often exposed to the virus from young children, especially if the children are in daycare. Women may also come in contact with CMV through sexual contact. CMV can be spread for months to years after someone is infected. Over time, it becomes dormant (inactive) and cannot be spread. In some cases, hormone changes during pregnancy or breastfeeding may cause the virus to become active again. CMV may also become active again when a person's immune system becomes weak, such as with an HIV infection or an organ or bone marrow transplant.

How is CMV diagnosed and treated during pregnancy?

Healthcare providers may test your blood to find if you have CMV. They may also test amniotic fluid to find if your unborn baby has CMV. You may need to take medicines to support your immune system or treat a viral infection. The medicine may also help prevent your unborn baby from getting CMV.

How can I prevent a CMV infection during pregnancy?

When should I call my doctor or obstetrician?

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Further information

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