On Monday I woke up and looked in the mirror to see that my cheeks had gone a weird purple colour and looked all blotchy. It’s not something that I had ever seen before and after typing it into Google the only thing that came up was slapped cheek disease, also known as fifth disease or parvovirus B19.
Usually it wouldn’t have been a problem but slapped cheek disease in pregnancy can cause serious complications so I made a doctors appointment for later in the day. By the afternoon the rash had gone down and I nearly cancelled my appointment but something told me to go. I actually apologised to my doctor for wasting his time but he was really nice and said that although Google does lead a lot of people to wrongly thinking they have medical conditions, it also works the other way and saves a lot of peoples lives so I felt a lot better after that. Especially as I am a bit of a hypochondriac!
He took my blood and said that from that they would be able to test for anti-bodies and get an idea of whether I am immune to the virus or not. He also told me that most adults are already immune as they may have been exposed without even knowing about it so I did go away fairly certain that I didn’t have it.
Then I spoke to my doctor a couple of days later and she told me that my blood did have some antibodies to the virus but that it didn’t in August when they last took my blood meaning that it was in fact slapped cheek disease that I had contracted.
She said there was a 90% chance that everything would be fine but there is now an increased risk of the baby developing foetal anaemia which would result in him needing a blood transfusion so I will need to go for regular growth scans to check that he is developing okay.
I know the risk isn’t massive, but then the risk for complications from flu aren’t massive either and they vaccinate people against that, it’s just not nice to know that there is an increased risk of anything going wrong when you are pregnant.
I am just so pleased that I chose to go to the doctors though because if I had left it until the next day when the rash had almost gone, I wouldn’t have re-made the appointment and wouldn’t be having the baby monitored. Obviously if the baby wasn’t being monitored and he had developed complications from the virus that’s when the risk of miscarriage gets a lot higher so it is quite scary really. These are the statistics about slapped cheek disease pregnancy complications.
I am guessing that I caught it from Cherry who must have had it when she was ill last week, the weird thing is that I thought she had more of a tummy bug as vomiting and tiredness were her main symptoms. The internet also gives the impression that adults who catch slapped cheek disease will be quite ill with a lot of joint pain which I didn’t have at all. I felt quite dizzy, tired and unwell for a few days then I had a rash for a few hours and that was it!
I wanted to write about this virus because I know a lot of people hadn’t heard of it when I mentioned it on Facebook this week, like with anything if you are more aware of it, especially during pregnancy then you can make sure you don’t ignore it.
This is literally the worst photo in the entire world but you can see just how purple my cheeks were!
Update: I was monitored weekly and thankfully everything turned out to be okay.