Health and Medicine Question #2064

Felicia, a 0 year old female from the Internet asks on December 2, 2003,

Is it true that if you're pegnant and you get sick, there is a chance your baby will get sick?

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The answer

David Winsemius answered on April 25, 2004

The short answer is: it depends. On what does it depend, you might ask? The kind of sickness that the mother has is the answer. The most common sickness during pregancy is what is called "morning sickness". Morning sickness is due to the hormones that are changing in the mother's body. Morning sickness does not cause problems for the baby. There is even a better chance that a baby will be healthy when the mother has morning sickness.

Most other illnesses in the mother are not a problem for the baby, either. Colds, sore throats, and other typical illnesses are handled by the mother's defenses and do not harm babies. There are a few illnesses that can be transmitted to the baby, but they are rare. German measles or varicella is a viral infection for which most women in industrialized countries are immunized, but before that vaccine was available babies could be harmed by an infection during development. If a mother gets toxoplasmosis, it can get transmitted to the baby. Really serious heart diseases in the mother or certain pregancy-related illnesses such as pre-eclampsia could be a threat to a baby as well, but they are fortunately uncommon.

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