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Pregnancy and Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

Pregnancy and Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a virus caused by the coxsackievirus A virus.

It is a very contagious disease spread through coughs and sneezes and contact with faeces. It is fairly common in children but it is rare for healthy adults to suffer from it.

HFMD is different to foot and mouth disease which affects animals.

The first symptoms are a fever and sore throat, and then you will notice sores in the mouth and on the hands and feet. The incubation period (time between catching the disease and showing symptoms) is 3-6 days - during which time you are infectious to other people. There is no specific treatment other than relieving symptoms.

If you catch HFMD when you are pregnant, no harm is usually caused to the baby. However, if you catch the virus shortly before giving birth, you might pass it to your baby and they may need hospital treatment to avoid developing further problems. The risk of infection is very low in healthy adults and if you do experience any complications with your pregnancy because of HFMD it is most likely to be caused by the high temperature you may develop, and not the infection itself.

To prevent catching the disease, make sure you always wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet or handling nappies and make sure the toilet is clean.

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