Parvovirus B19 and Pregnancy

Pregnant woman

About 50% of adults have already had a parvovirus B19 infection and have immune protection. If you are one of these protected adults, you and your baby are usually protected from the virus. Even if you are not immune, not everyone who is exposed becomes infected and you will most likely have a mild illness if you get a parvovirus B19 infection. Also, this will not usually impact your pregnancy or have long-term impacts on your baby.

However, if you get infected with parvovirus B19, it is possible to spread the virus to your developing baby. As a result, your developing baby could develop severe anemia. This is not common but may cause a miscarriage. Having a parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy may increase the risk of a miscarriage or loss of pregnancy by about 5%, and typically only occurs when the infection is in the first half of the pregnancy.

If you are pregnant, contact your obstetrician or healthcare provider as soon as possible for either of these situations:

  • You show signs of a parvovirus B19 infection (or a “slapped cheek” rash)
  • You may have been exposed to someone with a parvovirus B19 infection.

Testing for Parvovirus B19 during Pregnancy

A blood test for parvovirus B19 antibodies may indicate whether you:

  • Have protection (immunity) against parvovirus B19
  • Have had a recent or past infection

Monitoring Parvovirus B19 Infection during Pregnancy

If you have a parvovirus B19 infection during your pregnancy, your healthcare provider may recommend additional prenatal visits, blood tests, and ultrasounds. Based on the information gathered from these visits and discussions with your doctor, other highly specialized procedures may be an option to reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Parvovirus B19 in the Workplace and Pregnancy

Pregnant healthcare worker

All healthcare providers and patients should follow recommended infection control practices to prevent the spread of parvovirus B19.  Pregnant persons may choose to continue going to their workplace if there is an outbreak of fifth disease.

Healthcare providers who are pregnant should know about the potential risks and discuss this with their doctor and occupational health provider.