The Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) have released official recommendations for the prevention of a potentially lethal infection.

The new advice is that pregnant women should be warned about the cytomegalovirus (CMV) and taught how to protect their babies from its potentially devastating effects.

SMH reports the herpes-like virus is transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva, tears, urine and breast milk is typically harmless in healthy people, with 85 per cent of the population contracting CMV at some point in their lifetime.

But congenital CMV can be debilitating and life-threatening for unborn babies. The virus is the most common cause of congenital infection. Almost 2000 babies in Australia are born with congenital CMV every year.

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Women with young children at increased risk

Pregnant women with young children are at increased risk of CMV, with toddlers and preschoolers prone to catching and transmitting the virus to their mothers via intimate contact such as kissing on the lips, and sharing food, dummies, and utensils.

On Saturday RANZCOG published its new recommendations advising that “all pregnant women trying to conceive should be given information about CMV prevention as part of routine antenatal or pre-pregnancy care”.

How to avoid the infection

Pregnant women can reduce the risk of CMV by avoiding: sharing food, drinks or utensils with children under three years old; putting a child’s dummy in their mouth; and contact with saliva when kissing a child (kissing on the lips).

RANZCOG also advised women to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water especially after changing nappies, feeding young children or wiping their noses, and to clean toys, counter-tops and other surfaces.


Share your comments below

  • How awful, I hope it is under control soon.


  • A friend of mine worked in childcare. And lost her baby girl at 38 weeks due to thos virus. Sadly she could not go back to work and ended up getting a job elsewhere
    She has since had a baby boy but natrually the loss was quite significant in her life. Its a very scary virus. She nor i had heard about it until this happened.


  • I’ve never heard of this before. It seems carrying a baby to term now has so many more additional external risks then previously.


  • Wow this is alarming


  • Oh dear, I hadn’t come across this, very concerning indeed.


  • Gosh, had no idea. Something else to worry about if you’re pregnant!


  • This is very worrying and pregnant Mums have enough on their plate. Thanks for the tips on how to stay healthy and keep their children healthy


  • Concerning. Stay healthy pregnant ladies !


  • Never heard of this one. I wonder what the effects are – off to check it out.


  • If you are healthy you have no worries – and shouldn’t you be at your healthiest when you are pregnant?


  • I’ve never heard of this virus. A good warning to those susceptible.


  • Something I’d never heard of so great information to research on


  • It states that it is harmless for healthy people, so get healthy folks, eat your spinach and other leafy greens and lots of fruit, eat wholefoods and stay away from packaged processed junk that has no nutrition.


  • Great to be shared around, I’d never heard of it.


  • I heard of this only after my son was born with a disability (not caused by CMV).


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