Since 1976, sera obtained serially from 10,218 pregnant women during the first, second, and third trimesters of gestation and cord sera were tested for CMV complement-fixing (CF) and immunofluorescent (IF) antibodies. CMV IgG-IF antibody was positive in 9,735/10,218 (95%) in the first trimester, and a significant rise of CF antibodies during pregnancy was found in 70/9,206 (0.76%) of the seropositive group and in 5/438 (1.14%) of the seronegative group. IgM antibody was found in 6/9,206 (0.06%) of seropositive women during the first trimester and in 7/70 (10.0%) of seropositive mothers with CF antibody rise and in 4/5 of seroconverted mothers of the seronegative group, suggesting that the incidence of primary infection with CMV during pregnancy was approximately 1% of susceptible women. All the mothers with immune response had infants with neither viruria nor IgM antibody in the cord blood, whereas seropositive mothers without an immune response had infants with viruria (7/1,826; 0.4%) or with IgM antibody in the cord blood (6/9,136; 0.06%). None of these 13 babies, shedding CMV or with IgM IF antibody, had physical or mental retardation. CMV IgG-IF antibody was present in almost 80% of infants between 7 and 12 months of age in 1988, suggesting that perinatal or postnatal CMV infection may occur in infants born to seropositive mothers in 70-80% of pregnancies.