Norovirus in pregnant women – what are the risks?

Pregnant woman with nausea on the couch

A gastrointestinal infection with norovirus can put a strain on the body during pregnancy.
If the norovirus triggers vomiting diarrhea during pregnancy, this is often a cause for concern. What risks are there for the expectant mother and the child?

Pregnant women can become ill with norovirus just like other adults or children – infections increase especially in the cold season. The symptoms usually become noticeable just a few hours after infection. Those affected then typically suddenly experience bouts of vomiting, nausea and massive watery diarrhea .

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There are often other symptoms in addition to vomiting diarrhea. Possible complaints include:

  • stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • (occasionally) mild fever

An infection with the norovirus is unpleasant, but it usually goes away quickly. The symptoms usually subside after just one or two days – even for most pregnant women.

Norovirus: What are the risks for pregnant women?

However, it is important to drink enough during acute norovirus symptoms – this is especially true during pregnancy . As a result of severe vomiting diarrhea, the body loses a lot of water and therefore electrolytes. If these losses are not compensated for, (sometimes life-threatening) complications such as circulatory or kidney failure can quickly occur.

Pregnant women are at increased risk of such complications because their bodies react more sensitively to fluid loss. Whether the norovirus or other pathogens are behind it: If a gastrointestinal infection with severe vomiting and diarrhea occurs during pregnancy, those affected should always seek medical advice as a precaution or, if necessary, go to a practice or clinic – better sooner than later.

This is even more true if the symptoms last longer than two to three days, if the symptoms worsen or if other symptoms arise, such as fever or circulatory problems . Possible signs of a lack of fluids include:

  • dry mouth
  • Feelings of dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • fatigue
  • heart racing
  • dark yellow urine
  • decreased amount of urine

    Norovirus in pregnancy: What are the risks for the child?

    A norovirus infection during pregnancy can put a strain on the expectant mother’s body. However, as long as care is taken to drink enough and replace fluid losses, there is usually no risk to the child. The pathogens cannot pass on to the unborn child and infect it.


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