Monday, 2 December 2013

Twelve Short Months: Slapped Cheek and Second Looks

I arrived back at work after my booking in appointment with the midwife to be told that a child in my class had something called slapped cheek. I didn't know what it was. The infectious disease information at school said to inform your midwife if you came into contact with it. I duly called her back only to be told not to worry.

An hour later and more research on mine and the schools part and it was found to actually be a bit of a worry. The NHS Choices website has a list of complications and time frames. I was 10 weeks pregnant. This was on the border of the risky time for baby, a really risky time. Possibly the most devastating of things can happen, and if not that then other very close monitoring is needed for a potentially dangerous side affects for baby.

A call back to my Dr's and it was recommended that I stay away from work until my immunity to the virus had been checked. If it was found I was not immune then Pip would need extra checks, no more midwife care, extra scans for the dangerous, possibly life threatening, foetal hydrops.

To say I was terrified would be an understatement. To say that the two weeks leading up to this scan were awful would be not close. I looked and looked for information on slapped cheek and pregnancy and could find very little. NHS Choices gave the most information, the scariest information. My mum who is a nurse hadn't heard about slapped cheek being dangerous in pregnancy, my Dr hadn't dealt with it before and called the Centre for Infections Diseases, my student midwife sister hadn't heard of the risks and even my own midwife had told me not to worry.

It seemed that really there should be more information and support available concerning slapped cheek and pregnancy. I turned to online birth forums and discovered that a number of other women, most of whom worked with young children, were either going through the same thing, or had gone through it in past pregnancies.

Slapped cheek is relatively common, it is relatively minor infection that many children catch, you do not have to stay away from school if you have it, unlike something like chicken pox, it is only really dangerous if you catch it when pregnant when it can affect your unborn baby. And yet it is not routine to test women for their immunity to slapped cheek in the way they test for immunity to Rubella.

I was shaking going into the 12 week scan at nearly two weeks since finding out about slapped cheek. My blood results were not back and this scan could be the first indicators that something was fatally wrong with our baby.

Much to our relief the scan showed no indicators of foetal hydrops and that Pip was growing well. We breathed a massive sigh of relief and cried once more at the sight of our tiny baby growing in my tummy.

I was off work for two weeks in the end until thankfully I was told I was immune, that my blood showed no increased levels of antibodies so the immunity was historic. I was in the all clear but most importantly I hadn't put my baby at risk by doing my job.

I really believe that immunity to slapped cheek should be tested alongside Rubella either prior to pregnancy or in the early blood tests you have. Even if it is just routinely offered to those who work with, or are parents to, young children who are those most likely to catch this virus.

After our scan and the all clear we announced we were pregnant to the world via the age old medium of Facebook. It was brilliant to know all was well with Pip and that we could start enjoying and looking forward again to the pregnancy and our imminent new arrival.


  1. I'm so relieved for you. I came into contact with Slapped Cheek when I was 17 weeks pregnant with Little Man - right in the danger zone. Like you, I was shocked about how little info there was, and my blood tests showed that I wasn't immune to it, so we were just fortunate that I didn't catch it. A very worrying time, so I totally relate to you. So glad all's well x

  2. Thank goodness all is well with your pregnancy and hope it stays that way :) I've never heard of slapped cheek before… must google :) Dropping by from #MagicMoments.

  3. I'm so glad everything was okay! My sons both caught chicken pox when I was pregnant with my daughter - 15 weeks, which is during the most dangerous time - and my doctor went into over drive as I've never had them! Thankfully, I was immune, but it was an anxious few days. #WhatstheStory #MagicMoments

  4. oh my goodness what a relief! its the same as Strep B they can test but dont test and carriers can pass it on to new born babies with life-threatening side effect to baby. when will they learn!

    thanks for linking up and sharing this post with #MagicMoments x

  5. Sorry to hear you had this ordeal and glad it all turned out well. I don't think there would be any point in routinely checking if pregnant women are immune and I don't know why they do it with rubella - if you're not immune, theres nothing they can do anyway. I wasn't immune to rubella. I asked what that meant, and they said "nothing except hope you don't catch it"