By: Midwives from Cork University Maternity Hospital

Chicken Pox

Chickenpox is a mild and common childhood illness that most children and sometimes adults catch at some point. It causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters. They then crust over to form scabs, which eventually drop off.

Chickenpox during pregnancy can cause complications, both for the pregnant woman and the unborn baby. However, the actual risk of any complications occurring is low, occurring in approximately three in every 1,000 pregnancies. Most pregnant women who get chickenpox recover, with no adverse effects on the baby. 

Seek advice from your GP or midwife immediately if you’re pregnant and:

  • you think you may have chickenpox;
  • either you’ve never had chickenpox or you’re not sure, and you’ve been near someone that has it (even if you have no rash or other symptoms); or
  • you get chicken pox within seven days of giving birth.


This article was written for the CUMH Booklet ‘Information on Preparing for Birth and Parenthood’ by CUMH Midwives, Margaret Murphy **, Mary Jeffery, Cathy O’Sullivan, Jane O’Connor, Valerie Dennehy, Monica O’ Regan, Olive Long and Rebecca O’Donovan. **Margaret Murphy is a Midwifery Lecturer at UCC