Q. Is it true that viral infections during early pregnancy causes autism?

Answered by
Dr. Eeshani Dutta
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 08, 2019

Hi doctor,

My wife is seven weeks pregnant (about three weeks from fertilization, we think, because she has long cycles) and came down with shingles almost 2 weeks ago (and a cold about a week ago). She has been taking Acyclovir and the pain has reduced but is still present. We are worried about the effect on the baby, particularly because we have read viral infections in early pregnancy can lead to Autism. Do you have any advice about how serious the risks are?

#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Shingles is herpes zoster, which is the reactivation of the chicken-pox virus in the body due to an immunocompromised status like pregnancy. But thankfully, the effects are not disastrous for the unborn baby as your wife already has antibodies against the virus in her body to combat transmission. If she had disseminated widespread shingles, there could be theoretical chances of viremia and fetus being affected. She is already taking Acyclovir, so viremia is not possible anymore. Do not worry, be happy.


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