According to a recent study women with ‘slapped face syndrome’ are more likely to pass related complications to their unborn child. It is also said that the risk of fetal complication will be 30 per cent more in the first trimester of the pregnancy itself.

The ‘Slapped faced syndrome’, also known as the ‘fifth disease’ is a common disease to affect expectant mothers. A virus named parvovirus B19 is responsible for it. The symptoms of the disease are rashes on the face and on hands, wrists and knees; this happens as the virus prevents the development of red blood cells which in turn causes inflammation and it leads to rashes in face and hands.

A droplet from sneezing and coughing is enough to transmit the virus. The typical incubation period for the virus is about 4 to 14 days after exposure but sometimes it is notorious enough to survive as long as three weeks.

Good news is that only a few women will be infected by the virus even if up to 50 per cent of pregnant women are susceptible to the virus.

Generally, women with weak immune system are the high risk group for the virus. Women suffering from some sort of hematological conditions are also at higher risk. In fetuses, those fetuses with tissue inflammation and red-cell destruction symptoms are more likely to be affected by the virus.

The study further stated that after a pregnant woman is affected by the virus, there is 30 per cent more chance of transmitting it to the fetus. The study further added that even though most babies are born healthy, there is 5 to 10 per cent chance of feta loss. The scene changes if there is epidemic like situation, then the risk of mother to child transmission is dangerously higher.

Another interesting thing about the virus is that the symptoms on the expecting mother are short-lived while complications faced by the unborn child could be many folds, like hepatitis, severe anemia, and inflammation of the heart muscle; cardiac failure and it may even lead to fetal death.

The gestational age at infection is vital to determine the risk of fetal death. It is said that the virus is responsible for about 3 per cent of the miscarriages in the first trimester. However, the chances of miscarriages may be hugely different during epidemic like situation and in normal times.

If a woman is infected by the virus in the first trimester of pregnancy, the percentage for fetal death increases to 19 %. It comes down to 15 per cent if the gestational age of the fetus is 13-20 weeks. This falls down further to 6 per cent after 20 weeks of gestation.

As the pregnancy advances, the need for high number of red blood cell decreases and their life span increases. So, from the third trimester onwards, there are fewer chances of fetal complications.