Mumps and Pregnancy
In order to make a mumps diagnosis during pregnancy, the doctor will ask a number of questions about a woman's medical history and perform a physical exam, looking for signs or symptoms of mumps. Diagnosing mumps can often be done just based on a woman's symptoms and findings on the physical exam. If the doctor is unsure, however, he or she may order tests that look for antibodies against the mumps virus or for the virus itself.
There is currently no treatment for mumps that can kill the virus. Because mumps is caused by a virus, antibiotics or other medications for mumps are not effective. Therefore, mumps treatment during pregnancy focuses on providing relief of symptoms as the body fights the virus. This is called supportive care.
(Click Treatment for Mumps for more information on how to manage symptoms of the disease.)
Most pregnant women, and their fetuses, recover from mumps without any long-term problems. However, there are a number of complications of mumps seen in pregnant women. Some of these complications can occur with other mumps symptoms. In other cases, these complications may develop without mumps symptoms. In rare cases, long-term problems can result, including deafness.
Complications of mumps in pregnant women can include:
- Inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis or meningitis, respectively)
- Inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts (oophoritis or mastitis, respectively)
- Deafness, usually permanent
Mumps has also been associated with spontaneous abortion, particularly in early pregnancy (also called a miscarriage). There is no evidence that pregnant women who develop mumps are more likely to have a baby with birth defects.