HomeAnswersObstetrics and Gynecologypregnancy complicationsDo I have to terminate my pregnancy as I took steroids for herpes zoster infection?

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

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The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At August 6, 2017
Reviewed AtJuly 18, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I am being advised to terminate the 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 of Prednisolone, respectively, on the 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 the 24th to the 31st, I took Famciclovir (6 x 250 mg) tablets per day. From 25th to 27th, I took Dexamethasone injections of 10 mg per day for three days.

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

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

The increased exposure to corticosteroids 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 development, and anomalies can be possible. It can also lead to sexual organ development disorders in the 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.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Vidya Muralidhar
Dr. Vidya Muralidhar

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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