What should I do if I'm pregnant and I've been near someone with chickenpox?

It depends on whether you’ve had chickenpox or not. Most pregnant women in the UK and Ireland have had chickenpox and are immune to the virus that causes it.

What if I haven’t had chickenpox?

You should get advice from your GP or midwife immediately, even if you have no rash or other symptoms, if:

  • you’re pregnant and you know that you haven’t had chickenpox, or you’re not sure, and
  • you’ve been near someone with chickenpox or shingles

Significant contact is described as being in the same room as someone with the symptoms of chickenpox for 15 minutes or more, or face-to-face contact.

Rarely, chickenpox during pregnancy can cause complications both for the woman and her baby.

You should also get medical advice straight away if:

  • you’re pregnant and you think you may have chickenpox
  • you develop any rash when you’re pregnant, including a rash that develops after contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles

Chickenpox and shingles

In some people the chickenpox virus can become active again later in life and causes shingles.

If you’re not immune to the chickenpox virus, it’s possible to catch chickenpox from someone who has shingles. However, this risk is small. For more information, go to What are the risks of shingles during pregnancy?

What if I have had chickenpox?

If you’ve already had chickenpox, it’s extremely unlikely that you will get it again. However women who have come into contact with someone with chickenpox or shingles should see their GP is a rash develops.

Read the answers to more questions about pregnancy.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 08/12/2013

Next review due: 07/12/2015