Viral infections in pregnancy

Minerva Ginecol. 2007 Apr;59(2):159-74.


Viral infections are a common complication of pregnancy and in some cases, can have profound effects for the unborn fetus. The human herpesvirus family is composed of large, enveloped DNA viruses that have close structural similarity. The family includes the herpes simplex viruses types 1 and 2, varicella zoster virus, Epstein Barr virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and human herpes viruses types 6, 7 and 8. These viruses all share the ability to establish latency and reactivate at a later time. Structural fetal abnormalities can result from intrauterine infection and transmission of the infection during the pregnancy or at the time of delivery can result in important neonatal disease. Human parvovirus B19 is a DNA virus with strong tropism for erythroid precursors and infection during pregnancy can result in fetal hydrops and stillbirth. The causative agents of hepatitis are hepatotropic viruses termed hepatitis A, B, C, D (deltavirus) and E. All except hepatitis B virus are RNA viruses. Vertical transmission of maternal infection with hepatitis B and C can result in significant long term sequelae.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytomegalovirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human* / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human* / prevention & control
  • Herpes Simplex* / diagnosis
  • Herpes Simplex* / drug therapy
  • Herpes Simplex* / prevention & control
  • Herpes Zoster* / diagnosis
  • Herpes Zoster* / drug therapy
  • Herpes Zoster* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Parvoviridae Infections* / diagnosis
  • Parvoviridae Infections* / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology*