Q. I was exposed to herpes zoster virus in the first month of pregnancy. Do I have to terminate?

Answered by
Dr. Vidya Muralidhar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 06, 2017

Hi doctor,

I am being advised to terminate a desired pregnancy because of the medication I have been prescribed to tackle a virus that I got just after becoming pregnant. I am looking for a second medical opinion on whether termination is necessary. I would like to understand the risks to the fetus of being exposed to the herpes zoster virus in the first month of pregnancy, and the risks of the medication (including steroids) that I am on at this stage in pregnancy. Here are the details of the timings and medications.

I had my last period on the 26th two months back, and I ovulated on the 13th of last month. 20th of last month, I had Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (inner ear pain and right side facial paralysis), and on 21st, I was diagnosed with Bell's palsy, for which I was prescribed Prednisolone. I took 30 mg, 25 mg, and 20 mg Prednisolone respectively on 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. The symptoms got worse, including outer ear pain and rash, and I was diagnosed with herpes zoster virus, and I was given Vitamin B12 injection. From 24th to 31st, I took Famciclovir (6x250 mg) tablets per day. From 25th to 27th, I took Dexamethasone injections 10 mg (2 ml) per day for three days.

From 28th to 31st, I took Prednisolone 30 mg per day. On 29th of last month, pregnancy was confirmed. On the First to fourth of this month, I had Prednisolone 20 mg per day, and 10 mg for the next four days. From 26th of last month, I took daily injections of vitamin B1 and B12, and I used Acyclovir 3 % topical cream on the ear.



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The increased exposure to corticosteroid can cross the placental barrier and cause adrenal suppression in the fetus. This can lead to salt wasting, electrolyte imbalances, and even poor development of the fetus.

The organs can also have improper developed and anomalies can be possible. It can also lead to sexual organ development disorders in case of a male fetus. It would be safer to go in for a termination, as it is still in the early months of pregnancy.

Also, exposure to herpes zoster can cause scarring of the face, limb, and organ deformities in the fetus.

For more information consult an obstetrician and gynaecologist online -->

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