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Pregnant Women

Español: Mujeres embarazadas

Group of pregnant women

In the United States, about half of pregnant women have never been infected with CMV. About 1% to 4% of these women have a primary (or first) CMV infection during their pregnancy. Most people have no symptoms when they get infected with CMV, but some may have symptoms similar to mononucleosis (mono).

CMV can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy. The virus in the mother’s blood crosses over the placenta and infects the fetus’ blood.

Most babies with congenital (meaning present at birth) CMV infection never have health problems. But in some babies, congenital CMV infection causes health problems that may be apparent at birth or may develop later during infancy or childhood. See Congenital CMV Signs and Symptoms.

Transmission of CMV Infection

The virus is generally passed from infected people to others through direct contact with body fluids, such as urine, saliva, vaginal secretions, and semen.

Infants and children who are infected with CMV after birth may shed CMV in their urine and saliva (that is, pass virus in their urine or saliva). And these are body fluids that parents and other caregivers have frequent contact with through activities such as diaper changing, nose wiping, and feeding. Although the virus is not highly contagious, it has been shown to spread among household members.

For pregnant women, the two most common exposures to CMV are through sexual contact and through contact with the urine of young children with CMV infection.

See Transmission for more information.

Treatment for CMV Infection

For now, there are no licensed treatments for pregnant women who become infected with CMV during pregnancy. Currently licensed treatments that are effective against CMV infection have serious side effects, are not approved for use in pregnant women, and have not been shown to prevent CMV infection in the fetus. Scientists are working on CMV vaccines and are looking for other ways to prevent congenital CMV infection.

Reducing Risk of CMV Infection

There are certain steps women can take that may reduce their exposure to CMV and other infections that pose a risk during pregnancy. See Prevention.

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