If you haven't already had the virus or been immunized against it, there's a 90 percent chance you will get this highly contagious bug, according to William Cusick, MD, associate director of maternal-fetal medicine at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut.
So what can you do? "Exposed pregnant women without protective antibodies can receive an injection (VZIG -- varicella zoster immunoglobulin) that may prevent or lessen the chickenpox infection," notes Dr Cusick. You should get this injection within 72 hours of exposure for it to be effective. If you do get the pox, it will probably be an uncomfortable experience with skin lesions and itching.
But what about your baby? Dr Cusick says, "The majority of infants born to women with pregnancies complicated by acute chickenpox infection will harbor no ill effects due to the virus. However, a small percentage (0 to 9 percent, average 2 percent) of fetuses exposed to chickenpox early in pregnancy may have skin, digit, growth and/or eye abnormalities due to the maternal infection." So if you're not immune, talk to your caregiver about a safety plan.