Molluscum Contagiosum During Pregnancy: Causes And Symptoms

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A poxvirus (known as molluscum contagiosum virus) causes the infection Molluscum contagiosum. Molluscum contagiosum during pregnancy may cause varied symptoms such as skin issues, white sores around your face, and the spores spread to other regions of your body.

Read this post to know about molluscum contagiosum in pregnancy, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

In This Article

What Is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection caused by the virus Molluscum Contagiosum. The molluscum virus produces bumps or papules on the skin’s upper layer, which can be smooth, shiny, and fleshy (3).

Causes Of Molluscum Contagiosum During Pregnancy

Here are some of the common causes of Molluscum contagiosum:

1. Skin Contact:

The infection spreads through skin contact. Avoid skin contact with an infected person. The virus survives on the surfaces and comes in contact with the skin of a person infected with Molluscum virus. The virus can spread by sharing towels, toys, utensils etc.

2. Sexual Contact:

Molluscum contagiosum during pregnancy could be due to physical intimacy

Image: Shutterstock

Adults are more likely to be infected by a viral infection through sexual contact. Molluscum contagiosum is thus a sexually transmitted disease (STD) People with weakened immune systems may take longer to recover from it. (7).

3. Sharing Your Personal Belongings With An Infected Person:

You can contract the disease if you share towels, clothes and other items with an infected person. The virus survives on surfaces of objects and contaminates them too. So, sterilize all surfaces and clothes to stay away from this infection.

Symptoms Of Molluscum Contagiosum During Pregnancy

If you are suffering from Molluscum infection during gestation, then you will notice a small group of painless lesions that exhibit the following characteristics:

  1. Shiny, smooth and small in appearance.
  1. The color varies from white to pink to flesh-colored.
  1. Some of them are dome-shaped.
  1. The core of these lesions contains wax-like material.
  1. They appear all over the body, the face, abdomen, torso, arms, and legs.

    They may appear anywhere on the body

    Image: Shutterstock

  1. They also appear in the abdomen and genital areas.
protip_icon Quick fact
The lesions may become sore, itchy, red, and/or swollen (5).

Treating Molluscum Contagiosum While Pregnant

If you contract lesions around the genital area (on or near the vulva, vagina, or anus), seek immediate medical attention, as lesions in these areas could lead to many complications. Some treatment methods for Molluscum contagiosum during pregnancy include:

Topical Therapy

Some options for topical therapy are as follows:

1. Cryotherapy:

It is the process of freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen. You will need several sessions of cryotherapy to remove the scars completely.

2. Laser therapy:

Try laser for Molluscum contagiosum

Image: Shutterstock

The technique involves using a powerful beam of light to destroy the cells that cause the spots. The treated area becomes discolored. However, the skin regains its normal color. But, you will have to undergo a couple of laser therapy sessions to get rid of scars completely.

3. Diathermy:

The process uses heat to remove the spots. The doctor will give you local anesthesia to numb the area. Later on a heated electrical device is used to burn off the spots.

4. Curettage:

It is the process of removing the spots by piercing with a metal or curette. The doctor will place you under local anesthesia during the treatment.

These options can, however, result in post-procedural pain, irritation, and scarring.

protip_icon Quick fact
The condition typically resolves without scarring but it may take up to four years (5).

A Few Other Treatment Options

Avoid scratching the affected area. Scratching or scraping the affected skin could cause a bacterial infection. Scratching also increases the risk of spreading the infection. You can use some other treatment options like:

You can try tretinoin after consulting your doctor

Image: Shutterstock

  • Iodine
  • Salicylic acid
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Tretinoin
  • Cantharidin
  • Imiquimod (T-cell modifier) (1)

Here is a word of caution for all you new mommies-to-be. Podophyllotoxin cream (0.5%) is not good for pregnant women because of presumed toxicity to the fetus, so do not use it. Before opting for any treatment options; do consult your doctor/obstetrics (gynecology expert). Also, treat each lesion individually as the therapeutic effect is localized.

Caution

Cantharidin is to be applied in a doctor’s office only. There’s a risk of serious side effects, such as deep chemical burns, intense pain, and scarring if the product is procured online and applied at home (6).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a baby be born with molluscum contagiosum?

Yes, a baby can be born with molluscum contagiosum. The infection transmits from the mother to the fetus in the uterus or through the vagina during birth (2).

2. What can be mistaken for molluscum contagiosum?

The symptoms of molluscum contagiosum can often be confused with herpes, genital warts, or bacterial furuncles due to the appearance and location of the lesions (3) (4).

3. What natural remedies for Molluscum Contagiosum can be used during pregnancy?

Sinecatechin is a natural remedy for Molluscum Contagiosum that can be used during pregnancy. It is a botanical remedy made from green tea and approved by the FDA to treat warts and molluscum bumps, especially in the genital region. Consult your healthcare provider before using it, as it should be used on the condition that the potential benefits outweigh the risks (6)(8).

Molluscum contagiosum during pregnancy is a contagious viral skin infection that can spread through skin-to-skin contact. It can cause itchy lesions to appear anywhere on the skin that tends to self-resolve with time. However, you should seek prompt medical guidance if the lesions appear around the genital area. Cryotherapy, laser therapy, and curettage are some of the treatment modalities that your doctor can suggest. However, these procedures may cause pain, irritation, and scarring. Topical use of salicylic acid, iodine, and potassium hydroxide is another option you may consider after consulting a dermatology expert.

Infographic: Management Of Molluscum Contagiosum In Pregnancy

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection causing raised, pearl-like bumps on the skin; it can be contained by following simple measures. Therefore, if you want to prevent this infection and learn how to manage it during pregnancy, this infographic is worth reading.

tips to prevent & manage molluscum contagiosum (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin ailment characterized by white sores or bumps on the skin.
  • The predominant ways of the virus’s transmission are skin-to-skin contact, sexual contact, and sharing personal items with an infected individual.
  • Pregnancy-related molluscum contagiosum can be treated topically by curettage, diathermy, cryotherapy, and laser treatment.
  • Using cantharidin at home runs the danger of serious adverse effects; thus, it should only be used in the presence of a doctor.
  • Topical creams such as podophyllotoxin should be avoided while pregnant.


Learn how to prevent the spread of molluscum contagiosum with these simple tips! Find out what to do to keep yourself and others safe.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Clinical Overview of Molluscum Contagiosum.
    https://www.cdc.gov/molluscum-contagiosum/hcp/clinical-overview/index.html
  2. Congenital molluscum contagiosum.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5804562/
  3. Molluscum Contagiosum.
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000826.htm
  4. Molluscum contagiosum venereum.
    https://experts.umn.edu/en/publications/molluscum-contagiosum-venereum
  5. Molluscum contagiosum.
    https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/molluscum-contagiosum/index.html
  6. Molluscum Contagiosum: Diagnosis And Treatment.
    https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/molluscum-contagiosum-treatment
  7. Molluscum contagiosum.
    https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/molluscum-contagiosum
  8. Sinecatechins – Patient.
    https://clinicalinfo.hiv.gov/en/drugs/sinecatechins/patient
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Dr. Prachi Benara has 14 years of experience as an infertility specialist. Having done her graduation and postgraduation in India, Dr. Prachi trained in reproductive medicine and IVF in the UK. In addition to a one-year PG diploma, she worked as an observer in the Oxford University Hospitals and trained in IUI, ultrasound, and embryo transfer at the British Fertility Society.

Read full bio of Dr. Prachi Benara