Fifth Disease and Pregnancy

For information on Fifth disease, see Fifth Disease factsheet

What should I know about Fifth disease and pregnancy?

  • Fifth disease is a mild rash caused by Parvovirus B19, and usually does not cause serious problems for pregnant women and their babies
  • If a pregnant woman becomes infected in the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy, there is a small chance that she could pass it on to the developing baby and this may cause the baby to develop anemia
  • This occurs in less than 5% of all pregnant women who are infected and occurs more often in the first half of pregnancy
  • Fifth disease has not been known to cause any physical or mental birth defects

Protect Yourself

  • By adulthood, 50-80% of people have been exposed to Parvovirus and are immune to it. Before becoming pregnant or during pregnancy, you can have a blood test to check if you are immune to the virus
  • If you have been exposed to fifth disease and are not sure if you are immune, speak to your family doctor. They may want to follow your pregnancy more closely.

Fifth Disease Outbreaks in the Workplace

  • Fifth disease outbreaks are common in schools and daycare settings
  • Pregnant women may continue going to work during outbreak if it is known that they are immune to the virus
  • If the woman is not immune, she may still go to work but may want to stay away from the children infected. It is recommended for her to receive blood work to check her immunity
  • In the end, the pregnant woman must speak with her family, doctor, and employer to find out what is best for her

For more information on infections in pregnancy read: