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

It depends on whether you have 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 have 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 aren't sure whether you have had chickenpox and you have 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 cause shingles.

If you're not immune to the chickenpox virus, it's possible to catch chickenpox from someone who has shingles. But this risk is small.

For more information, see What are the risks of shingles during pregnancy?

What if I've had chickenpox?

If you have already had chickenpox, it's extremely unlikely that you'll get it again.

But 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: 19/09/2018
Next review due: 19/09/2021