All about CMV and pregnancy 

CMV is present in saliva, urine, nasal secretions and tears. It can be easily transmitted between children through direct contact or via toys, spoons, dummies etc. 

This is why a CMV-seronegative (unprotected) pregnant mother may become infected by kissing her child on the mouth if he/she attends nursery or school.

What is CMV ?

The CytoMegalovirus or (CMV) is a strictly human virus that is easily transmitted through our secretions. About half of the population has been in contact with this virus.

In the majority of cases, the infection goes completely unnoticed or resembles an influenza-like illness. But it can be more serious when it affects an immunocompromised person or a foetus.

How do you become infected ?

CMV is present in saliva, urine, nasal secretions and tears. It can be easily transmitted between children through direct contact or via toys, spoons, dummies etc and between unprotected mothers-to-be.

Who is at risk ?   

Pregnant women the most exposed are those who are seronegative (unprotected) and in contact with very young children attending day care centres, schools, etc. It is children under 3 years of age who most often carry the virus in their secretions without becoming ill.

What are the risks ? 

If a pregnant woman contracts the virus for the first time during pregnancy, the fetus can become infected.

_ For the mother : the signs of infection may be fever, severe fatigue, joint pain, mild dizziness.
_ For the baby : 0.5 to 2% of pregnant women contract the virus during pregnancy, this is called a primary infection. Of these 0.5 to 2%, the foetus is contaminated in 40% of cases: this is called congenital CMV infection. Of these, 20% present a risk of deafness or neurological sequelae requiring monitoring at birth.

How and when should screening take place ?

Screening for CMV is done by a simple blood test that looks for anti-CMV antibodies in the blood (serology). The results are interpreted by the clinical pathologist and/or the prescribing doctor.

What if the result is positive ?

In the case of a confirmed recent infection, the doctor may carry out further tests in order to adapt the management of the pregnancy according to the results.

What if the result is negative (= no infection )? 

It is very important to take care not to contaminate oneself through hygiene measures.

The risk to the foetus is greater if the mother-to-be is infected in early pregnancy.

How can CMV be prevented ? 

Pregnant women and their spouses who are in contact with children under 3 years of age at home or at work are advised to follow the following hygiene advice :

_ Wash your hands thoroughly after any contact with urine (nappies, potty, etc.).
_ If possible, wear gloves when changing your child.
_ Do not taste your child's bottle or food, or suck on the spoon or dummy.
_ Do not use their toiletries (flannel, towel, etc.).
_ Avoid kissing your children on the mouth.

_ Avoid contact with their tears or runny noses.

There is no treatment or vaccine against CMV 
for pregnant women.

Ketterthill pregnancy booklet

Download the full Ketterthill pregnancy booklet and find all the details of your analyses during pregnancy ! 

Do you want to be screened ?

Visit one of our medical analysis laboratories.
Ketterthill is a network of nearly 100 laboratories in Luxembourg