Cytomegalovirus (CMV) in Pregnancy
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that is spread like a cold or flu. A very small number of pregnant women, approximately 1%, will get infected with CMV for the first time while they are pregnant. If a woman gets infected for the first time during pregnancy, there is a 40% chance that the fetus will also get infected. Fetuses that get infected with CMV are more likely to be born earlier than expected (i.e., preterm), have low birth weight or small heads. A small number of the infected babies will develop problems such as hearing loss, difficulty learning or rarely, the baby may die.
The way we will know whether you have been infected during pregnancy is by testing your blood. If the laboratory test of your blood suggests that you have been infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV) for the first time (i.e. a primary infection). You will then be invited to take part in a research clinical trial that will test whether giving CMV antibodies (i.e. substances that target and may help your immune system destroy the CMV) might help keep the CMV infection from passing on to your baby. Antibodies are substances that are purified from human blood. Antibodies target and help the immune system to destroy harmful organisms.
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