Varicella embryopathy is a rare medical condition that affects infants whose mothers have contracted varicella during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.


Affected babies may have low birth weight and various skin lesions in the skin. There may be birth defects in the arms, legs, hands, or feet. The brain, eyes and other areas of the body may also be affected.

The characteristic skin lesion in babies are skin scarring and thickened skin. The scarring has a characteristic zigzag pattern, with areas of redness and inflammation.

There may be brain damage and damage to other parts of the central nervous system. Other babies may have a small head, seizures and swelling in the brain or hydrocephalus.


The diagnosis is made by a medical history that shows the mother’s exposure to varicella-zoster during pregnancy. The baby is then examined physically for the telltale5 Easy Exercises During Pregnancy signs and symptoms.

Prenatal ultrasound can reveal limb defects, craniofacial abnormalities, and other birth defects. In some cases, a fluid sample is obtained through amniocentesis, or a tissue sample is taken from a portion of the placenta (chorionic villus sampling) and tested for varicella-zoster virus (VZV).

Some blood tests may be requested to test for varicella zoster infection and its antibodies.


The treatment of varicella embryopathy is directed towards the specific signs and symptoms that are evident in the affected individual. Treatment may require the expertise of a team of doctors and health professionals. Pediatricians, infectious disease specialists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, surgeons, psychologists, and other medical professionals make up the team that is responsible for formulating the affected infant’s treatment plan.

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