Pregnancy and Mumps
Mumps is an infectious disease which is rare in the UK because most people are vaccinated against when they are young.
If you catch mumps when you are pregnant, there is an increased risk that you will suffer a miscarriage, premature labour or a stillbirth. There is no evidence to show that mumps can cause defects to an unborn baby.
Mumps is spread through airborne droplets from the coughs and sneezes of infected people. Mumps is more common in children ages 5-15 (if they are not vaccinated) but it can be caught at any age.
Mumps is not usually a serious illness, but in a small number of cases there can be severe complications, such as meningitis. The symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, swelling of the cheeks or jaw and swollen glands, which can last up to 7-10 days. These symptoms usually appear 2-3 weeks after coming into contact with the infection, but it can take longer. You are infectious from one week before the symptoms appear until several days after the glands start to swell.
If you are planning a pregnancy you should make sure you have been vaccinated against mumps. After you have had the MMR jab you should wait at least a month before becoming pregnant. The vaccination contains a live virus which could infect your baby so you cannot have the vaccination if you are already pregnant.
If you are pregnant and you have come into contact with someone with mumps and you have not been vaccinated against it you should see your GP immediately. There are treatments available to help to relieve your symptoms.