Skin rashes can occur for a variety of different reasons and are relatively common in pregnancy. Although they generally do not pose harm to you or your baby, in occasional cases they may be associated with an infection that can be transmitted to your baby. For this reason, it is recommended that if you develop a widespread rash during pregnancy, you contact your GP that day/the next morning.
Am I Immune?
Throughout life, we all encounter many viruses and bacteria. As part of our defence mechanism, the body makes antibodies to help fight infection.
If you have antibodies against a particular virus or bacteria, you are immune, and the antibodies help to prevent or reduce the impact of getting the infection again.
You can get more information on infections during pregnancy by clicking here.
Contact your GP within 24 hours (if at the weekend call NHS 111) if you have:
Contact your maternity unit or community midwife if:
Self care at home if:
Contact your maternity unit if you are still concerned
Some infections such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) or toxoplasmosis, do not always show themselves as a rash. Below are some simple ways to help protect yourself and your baby against these infections:
Contracting cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection during pregnancy poses a risk to the developing baby, as some of these babies are born with permanent health problems. CMV is found in bodily fluids, including urine, saliva, blood, mucus and tears. It is spread through close contact with bodily fluids. The main way pregnant women catch CMV is from small children’s saliva and urine. So women who work with children, or who have a family already, need to be especially careful during pregnancy. For information about how to minimise this risk, click here.
The parasite that causes toxoplasmosis is found in the poo of infected cats and in infected meat. You can also catch it from soil that has been contaminated by cat poo.If it spreads to your baby it can cause serious complications including miscarriage, especially if you get infected early in pregnancy. For more information about toxoplasmosis, click here.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection.If you have genital herpes during pregnancy, there's a risk your baby could develop a serious illness called neonatal herpes; please alert your GP or midwife. Women whose first infection with herpes occurred before pregnancy can usually expect to have a healthy baby and a vaginal delivery because they will transfer protective antibodies to their baby during the pregnancy (unless the baby is born extremely prematurely). For more information about genital herpes, click here and for more information about neonatal herpes, click here.
Your local maternity unit is staffed 24 hours a day with obstetrician s and midwives to help care for you, your baby and your pregnancy related health concerns. For some AMBER concerns it may be possible to be seen in a midwifery led unit if it is more convenient for you. For health concerns that are not related to your pregnancy you are advised to see your GP, call NHS 111 out of hours, or attend A&E if it is an emergency.
To find the contact numbers for your local maternity unit, please click here.
Whilst you may have individual contact details for your community midwife, if you are concerned about your pregnancy we advise you call the maternity unit on the numbers provided because staff are available 24 hours a day. Please do not leave urgent voicemails or text on a community midwife’s phone.
GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and can arrange referral to a hospital specialist should you need it. Whilst pregnant, you will have regular appointments with a midwife but it is still important to continue with any ongoing care from your GP.
NHS 111 can ask you questions to assess your symptoms, give you advice or can put you in touch with a GP out of usual working hours.
A&E departments provide vital care for life threatening emergencies, such as suspected heart attack or breathing difficulties. If you are not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.