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Common Maternal Infections That Can Harm a Baby


Identifying Maternal Infections

When maternal infections are left undiagnosed or untreated, it can be detrimental to the mother’s health and harmful to the baby. During pregnancy, it’s critical to receive prenatal care for the treatment of maternal infections. Having proper prenatal care can also help identify new infections so that the mother can receive the necessary treatments to reduce a baby’s risk of developing medical complications. Here are the most common maternal infections you need to know.


Also known as the “German Measles,” most people in the U.S. have had this vaccine. However, pregnant women should be tested for rubella to ensure that they have been vaccinated and immune to this virus. If rubella goes undiagnosed or untreated, a baby could contract this infection and be at risk of the following:

  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Growth problems within the uterus

Mothers who get vaccinated against rubella early in pregnancy can significantly decrease the chances of the virus infecting their infant.


Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is usually a mild disease. For unborn infants, however, contracting chickenpox can lead to severe health problems that may include:

  • Congenital Varicella Syndrome (a rare congenital disability that causes skin scarring and eye, brain, limb, and gastrointestinal abnormalities)
  • Pneumonia
  • Vision problems
  • Developmental delays
  • Cognitive issues

When pregnant, it’s critical to avoid anyone who has chickenpox. If you are pregnant, have been exposed to chickenpox during pregnancy, and you aren’t immune, it’s vital to contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Hepatitis B Virus

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) can be transmitted from mother to baby. Pregnant women should be tested for HBV early in pregnancy. If you test positive for HBV, your doctor may recommend a vaccination. If an expectant mother was not tested or treated at the beginning of pregnancy, they should be tested before delivery. The HBV virus can be passed to the baby during childbirth, and a baby may develop life-long health issues such as liver damage, liver disease, or liver cancer.

Did Your Child Suffer a Birth Injury? We’re Here for You

If your child suffered a birth injury due to an undiagnosed or untreated maternal infection, our Philadelphia birth injury attorneys at The Villari Firm, PLLC are here to help you seek justice.

Our legal team works with leading experts, including doctors and other legal experts, to assist us in investigating and preparing cases for our clients. We spare no expense and go to great lengths to help our clients receive the compensation they deserve.

Contact The Villari Firm, PLLC at 267-388-9429 to schedule a free consultation today.

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