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Mumps When Pregnant: Safety, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment

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Mumps in pregnancy is a contagious viral infection caused by a paramyxovirus. It causes pain, swelling, and inflammation of the parotid salivary glands along with low fever. The signs of mumps would last for around 12 to 25 days on exposure, wherein the incubation period is 16 to 18 days. It is a benign condition and is also a treatable and unalarming condition. But, some studies reveal that mumps in the first trimester could result in certain complications. Therefore, it is advisable to get the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine one month before planning pregnancy. This would reduce the likelihood of contracting mumps in pregnancy (1) (2).

Read on the post to know about the causes, symptoms, complications, and treatment for mumps during pregnancy.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mumps In Pregnancy?

The most common and visible symptom of mumps is swelling of the face below the ears. The swelling may be on one or both the sides of the face that may last around ten days (1).

Other common symptoms of mumps include (2) (3):

  • High temperature
  • Soreness or pain in the muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

Note: In some cases, a person suffering from mumps may not show any symptoms but can still act as a carrier. Hence, it is important to receive the vaccine as and when recommended.

Who Is At A Higher Risk Of Contracting Mumps?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who contact an infected patient or share their belongings, such as sports equipment and food, are at higher risk of contracting the infection. In addition, living in the same room with the infected person can also cause the infection (4) (5).

Although the efficacy of the MMR vaccine is around 95%, vaccinated people may also contract mumps. However, this is a rare occurrence, and the symptoms are not as severe as in non-vaccinated people (1).

What Are The Complications Of Mumps During Pregnancy?

Although mumps is mostly harmless and benign during pregnancy, a patient with the disease during the first trimester or 12 weeks of gestation may experience certain complications. These can include an increased risk of miscarriage or fetal death (1). A prospective cohort study did reveal some complications, such as pneumonia and mumps, in the infants born to mothers with mumps. However, the infants were treated and healed over time (6).

Congenital abnormalities or infant health complications might also develop, but there is no conclusive evidence. The rate of such complications in infants from mumps-infected pregnancy was seen to be similar to those without mumps(1).

How Is Mumps Diagnosed In Pregnancy?

The first common indication of a patient with mumps is swollen glands. Upon such manifestation and other symptoms, the healthcare provider may carry a swab test from cheeks and throat. The swabs will be tested in the laboratory for the mumps causative agent, paramyxovirus (7).

How Is Mumps Treated During Pregnancy?

Mumps is a mild disease that usually does not require any specific treatment. However, you may be suggested some treatments to help ease the pain and discomfort. These can include (3):

  • Cold compress: Ice packs may relieve the soreness for the sore and swollen glands.
  • Medication: Pain relief medications may be taken only after consultation with your healthcare provider. Paracetamol is the commonly prescribed medication for fever.
  • Fluid intake: It is recommended to drink more fluids and consume food with a liquid consistency since solid food intake may become difficult due to the swollen glands.

Can Mumps Be Prevented?

The only preventive measure for mumps is the MMR vaccine. The vaccine is usually administered during the early stages of life, with the first dose around 12-50 months old and the second dose four to six years (5). The MMR vaccine is not recommended during pregnancy. Therefore, consult your doctor if you plan to get pregnant and receive the vaccine at least one month prior. You may require a booster or third dose of the MMR vaccine in some cases since the effects might have worn out from the childhood vaccination (3).

Mumps in pregnancy is a rare and harmless infection. The MMR vaccine is recommended as a preventive measure; however, it does not ensure complete immunization against the disease. Hence, you should distance yourself from the infected people and take the required preventive measures.

References:

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  1. Mumps.
    https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/hcp.html
  2. Measles, Mumps, Rubella and the MMR Vaccine.
    https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/measles-mumps-rubella-mmr-vaccine-pregnancy/
  3. Mumps and pregnancy.
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/mumps-and-pregnancy
  4. Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know.
    https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mmr/public/index.html
  5. What You Should Know About Mumps.
    https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/may/mumps
  6. Svjetlana Lozo et al. (2012). Presumed Cases of Mumps in Pregnancy: Clinical and Infection Control Implications.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296145/
  7. Mumps.
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15007-mumps
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Aneesha Amonz

Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. She has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences. In addition, she has an internship experience in Oil India Limited as an R&D project trainee. As a writer at MomJunction, Aneesha ensures her content is engaging and... more