Pregnancy: CMV

Our first child was stillborn at nine months. Blood work indicated CMV, but my doctor said it would have had no effect on the baby. Another OB said that CMV is almost always fatal, or can cause horrible birth defects. There was no apparent cause of death, and the autopsy failed to reveal anything. What do you think?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

CMV is the most common cause of perinatal infection and evidence for fetal infection is found in from one-half to two percent of all neonates. Since tracking began in 1971, more than 800,000 fetuses have been infected, 50,000 of whom were born with with symptoms of the disease. Many have died, and most of the survivors have severe handicaps, including mental retardation, blindness and deafness.

Most adults have immunity to the disease, but it can sometimes come out of latency and infect the fetus. The risk for this among susceptible women during pregnancy is from one to four percent. Immunity due to a previous infection can be demonstrated in up to 85 percent of pregnant women from lower socio-economic backgrounds, whereas only half of women in higher income groups are positive. Primary infection, which is transmitted to the fetus in approximately 40 percent of cases, more often is associated with severe morbidity. Infection of the mother during early pregnancy tends to cause more severe disease. Day care centers are the prime areas of contagion, as it is transmitted in saliva and urine.

Your state health department is a good resource for more information on this condition.

My best to you.

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