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

It depends on whether you've had chickenpox before or not. Most pregnant women in the UK and Ireland have had chickenpox and are immune to the virus that causes it. If you've had chickenpox yourself, there's no need to worry about contact with it when you're pregnant.

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 you haven't had chickenpox 
  • you're not sure, and you've been near someone with chickenpox or shingles

It's rare for chickenpox to cause complications 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 if a rash develops.

Read the answers to more questions about pregnancy.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 07/12/2015

Next review due: 07/12/2017