What Pregnant Women Should Know About Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

It’s crucial for expectant mothers to be informed and cautious; understanding what pregnant women should know about hand foot and mouth disease can alleviate concerns and help them protect themselves and their baby from potential risks if exposed to this illness during pregnancy.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a coxsackievirus-caused ailment. HFMD is most prevalent in young children and causes a fever, painful mouth sores, and a red, blister-like rash on the palms and soles of the hand feet, respectively, but it is often not life-threatening. Adults are less susceptible to HFMD because they frequently have antibodies from past viral infections.

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Is HFMD During Pregnancy Dangerous?

If you contract hand, foot, and mouth disease while pregnant, your developing child will likely be all right. As stated by the CDC, there is no conclusive evidence that HFMD causes unfavorable pregnancy outcomes including miscarriage or congenital abnormalities.

However, if you develop the virus near your due date, there is a chance that you will transmit it to your child. Often, these situations are minor.

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What to Watch for About HFMD During Pregnancy

Although hand, foot, and mouth disease is unlikely to pose serious health risks to a fetus, there are several problems to watch out for if you contract HFMD while pregnant.


Oral blisters can make eating and drinking excruciatingly unpleasant, increasing the risk of dehydration. Dehydration is dangerous for everyone, particularly for pregnant women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises pregnant women to consume between 8 and 12 glasses of water daily to combat dehydration.

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Dehydration during pregnancy can result in major consequences, such as:

  • Premature labor.
  • Neural tube defects.
  • Insufficient milk production.
  • Less amniotic fluid.

It is essential to maintain hydration by consuming drinks. If the mouth sores are extremely severe, try hydrating with 100% juice popsicles that have been frozen; the juice will hydrate, and the cold will assist in relieving pain.

Meningococcal And Viral Encephalitis

Some patients with HFMD can develop viral meningitis, which can result in a stiff neck, headache, and high fever. Due to their immature immune systems, infants under one month old are more susceptible to developing severe symptoms, according to the CDC.

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Encephalitis is another cause for concern, as it can result in brain enlargement and paralysis. In one study, researchers discovered that encephalitis caused by HFMD resulted in considerable damage to the thalamus and medulla oblongata, which are positioned at the junction of the brain and spine and serve as a highway for the neurological system to go from the brain to the rest of the body. Moreover, they regulate the heartbeat, respiration, and blood pressure.

Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease Prevention

If you often interact with young children, you may be exposed to HFMD during your pregnancy. However, the prevention of HFMD is extremely straightforward and requires just a few simple steps.

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Regularly wash and disinfect hands.

Hand-washing with warm water and soap for 20 seconds is the most effective technique to avoid contracting hand, foot, and mouth disease and most other infectious diseases. Wash your fingers, fingernails, palms, and wrists thoroughly. After drying your hands, disinfect them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to eliminate any leftover bacteria.

Constantly wash your hands:

  • Before preparing or eating meals.
  • When you cough, sneeze, blow your nose or touch bodily fluids.
  • Disinfect surfaces with high contact.
  • After urinating or changing a baby’s diaper.
  • After having contact with a sick individual.
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To prevent diseases such as HFMD, maintain a germ-free house by washing off high-traffic surfaces where bacteria and viruses might hide. Whenever someone in your household is ill, be sure to disinfect used tissues, plates, and other items such as screens and remote controls. Some items that should be disinfected include:

  • Handles and doorknobs on cabinets, the refrigerator, and faucets.
  • Toys (particularly shared toys) (especially shared toys).
  • Incorporating mobile phone and tablet displays.
  • Bedding with pillowcases included.
  • Teething toys, pacifiers, and sippy cups.

What To Do If Exposed To HFMD

If you have been in contact with a person who has HMFD and you acquire symptoms such as fever, flu-like symptoms, skin rashes or blisters, or mouth sores, you should immediately consult your doctor. Your doctor may request an in-person examination to diagnose the illness and develop a treatment plan.

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According to the CDC, most patients recover from HFMD within seven to ten days without requiring medical therapy beyond home cures.

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