Shingles (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Is shingles dangerous in pregnant women?

Pregnant women are susceptible to shingles, but fortunately, shingles in pregnancy is very rare. The antiviral medications described above are considered safe to use in pregnant women, as are most pain-relieving drugs. In the later stages of pregnancy, women should not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). However, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is considered safe even in the late stages of pregnancy.

The shingles vaccine should not be administered to pregnant women. It is recommended that a woman wait three months before trying to become pregnant after she has received the shingles vaccine.

Having chickenpox during pregnancy has the potential to cause birth defects, depending upon when in the pregnancy the infection occurs. The risk of birth defects is believed to be lower with shingles than with primary chickenpox infection. If you do not know if you have had chickenpox, a blood test can determine whether you have antibodies (immune protection) against the virus. Those who received the chickenpox vaccine as well as those who have previously had chickenpox will have antibodies in their blood that are directed against the VZV virus.

Additional resources from WebMD Boots UK on Shingles

REFERENCES:

Eastern, Joseph S. "Herpes Zoster." Medscape.com. Oct. 25, 2010. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1132465-overview>.

Krause, Richard S. "Herpes Zoster." eMedicine.com. Nov. 23, 2009. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/788310-overview>.

Miravalle, Augusto A. "Ramsay Hunt Syndrome." eMedicine.com. Aug. 20, 2009. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1166804-overview>.

"Shingles During Pregnancy." WebMD Medical Reference. July 10, 2009. <http://www.webmd.com/baby/shingles-during-pregnancy>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Shingles (Herpes Zoster)." Jan. 10, 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/overview.html>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccination." Jan. 19, 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/shingles/default.htm>.

United States. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Zostavax (Herpes Zoster Vaccine) Questions and Answers." May 1, 2009. <http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/QuestionsaboutVaccines/UCM070418>.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/28/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Shingles - Effective Treatments Question: What kinds of treatments have been effective for your shingles?
Shingles - Symptoms Question: What were your shingles symptoms?
Shingles - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with shingles.
Shingles - Pain Question: Please discuss your experience with pain caused by shingles.
Shingles - Vaccine Question: What was your experience with getting the shingles vaccine?