Parvovirus, do you know what it is and what symptoms to look out for?
I certainly didn’t, I had never even heard of it until an epidemic started in West Yorkshire schools.
It is commonly know as ‘Slapped Cheek Syndrome’ and can be dangerous for pregnant ladies, particularly if caught in the 1st Trimester. Children develop a bright red rash, that looks like they have been slapped across the face. But the symptoms in adults are different and not as noticeable, as I soon discovered.
I was about 14 weeks pregnant, when I developed a mild red rash all over my body, I went to the doctors and I was told it was an allergy rash. A few days later I ached everywhere, my joints were so sore I could barely walk. I thought I had contracted the flu, I battled through but the rash remained.
A week later Riley developed a bright red rash on his cheeks, I did the first thing most mums do and I googled his symptoms! At this point I realised that Riley had Slapped Cheek and I too could have contracted the virus.
I contacted my midwife who said I needed to have a blood test to see if the virus was in my blood, but I was advised not to worry as most people are immune from the virus (60% according to studies). Unfortunately my blood results showed I was not immune and I had indeed contracted parvovirus.
I was then referred to the Foetal Medicine team for weekly observations as the virus could have been transferred through the placenta to my baby boy. I was told there was an increased risk of miscarriage and my baby could need a blood transfusion, if he developed severe anemia. There was a risk of him developing foetal hydrops, which is where fluid builds up around the babies organs and this can be fatal.
I was obviously very worried and scared, but the specialists knew what they were looking for and put me at ease. I was so amazed at my first weekly appointment, I had a 40 minute ultrasound scan where they checked his brain, heart and blood levels. I couldn’t believe the technology, there was my baby boy and his beating heart, I could see the valves and the blood pumping round, it was fascinating.
I then attended weekly scans for most of my pregnancy, we had a little scare where the levels became boarderline and I had to go see another two specialists but my little man stayed strong and he remained just below the level for further treatment.
I am very grateful to all the NHS medical staff, they did such a fantastic job looking after me and my baby boy. This virus can be fatal and I had never even heard of it, when I told people why I was going to the hospital so frequently, they too had never heard of it.
I would urge any pregnant ladies to keep an eye out for the symptoms, you can check the NHS Website for further information. I would advise against looking at online news articles as there is a lot of negative stories, which did nothing for my anxiety. Every time I went to the hospital, I was on edge in case they found something or give me bad news. I would scrutinise my maternity notes after, looking at every detail.
I am here telling my story because I want to highlight the seriousness of this virus, but also to let you know things can work out well in the end and my healthy baby boy is proof of that.
Myles Rex Pesce – you are worth all the worry, waiting around and tears ❤️