Is Scarlet Fever in Pregnancy Dangerous?

With the discovery of antibiotics, scarlet fever outbreaks have been on the decline. However, the disease is still in existence and we cannot safely say that it has been eradicated. The good news is that when the condition is treated in time, it does not pose any serious threat. There are still some people who are worried about the threat of scarlet fever and pregnancy happening together.

What Is Scarlet Fever?

Scarlet fever occurs when the group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus (GABHS) bacteria produce toxins that travel through the bloodstream leading to a rash. Scarlet fever is associated with an infection by streptococci bacteria, the same bacteria that is responsible for causing strep throat. It is more common in kids who are aged between 5 and 12, but pregnant women may also get infected. The condition is communicated by coming into contact with an infected person, especially through mouth or nose secretions.

Is It Serious If You Develop Scarlet Fever in Pregnancy?

Many women are concerned about the risk of scarlet fever and pregnancy happening during the same time, especially during the early days of the pregnancy while they are vulnerable to infections.

However, scarlet fever does not cause any serious threat to pregnant women as many of the infections don’t pose any threat to the developing fetus. However, it is worth noting that when a pregnant woman is infected with the fever while giving birth, there are high chances of the newborn baby also getting infected.


Some initial symptoms may appear before the appearance of the rash. However, it is worth noting that the symptoms may be different. Some of the initial symptoms that are common before the development of the rash include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Stomachache
  • The tongue becoming coated
  • The tongue having a straw-berry like look

After being infected, the rash will appear within a period of 1 to 2 days. The red rash that looks like sandpaper commonly occurs on the forehead, neck and chest. It may later move to the back and arms. The rash will start fading after a period of 2 to 7 days.

There are also other symptoms that are associated with the fever and these include:

  • High fever that may reach 101F(38.3C)
  • Red and very sore throat. At times, some yellowish or white patches may appear
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Headache
  • Enlarged neck glands which can be tender to touch

When Should You See a Doctor?

You should consult a doctor incase:

  • The fever rises to 102F or higher
  • You have tender or swollen glands in the neck


One of the major concerns of scarlet fever and pregnancy is the high fever that occurs as a symptom of the condition. This is especially the case where it occurs during the early days of pregnancy. This is due to the fact that high temperature has been associated with birth defects. If left untreated, scarlet fever may, in rare cases, cause other risks. These risks include rheumatic fever as well as blood infections such as bacteremia.

How Can It Be Treated, or Prevented?

It is easy to treat scarlet fever with antibiotics. Children are commonly treated using liquid antibiotics such as amoxicillin and penicillin, which are also safe in pregnancy. These should be taken for a period of 10 days despite the fact that most patients recover within a period of 4 to 5 days.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Scarlet fever and pregnancy occurring at the same time is a major concern for many women. The good news is that there are some measures that they can take to prevent and control the infection. These include:

  • Treat pain and fever. Pregnant women can use medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to control fever and reduce the severity of throat infection.
  • Drink enough fluids. It is important for pregnant women to take lots of fluids so that their throat may remain hydrated and moist.
  • Try air humidifying. A cool humidifier can help to get rid of dry air that may worsen the dry throat.
  • Use lozenges. These can be effective remedies for relieving sore throat in pregnant women.
  • Consume comforting foods. Pregnant women should take warm foods like soups or cold treats such as ice pops to soothe the sore throat.
  • Go for saltwater. This can help soothe sore throats in pregnant women.
  • Avoid irritants. Pregnant women should keep their homes free of irritants such as cigarette smoke or cleaning products that can irritate the throat.
  • Stay away from infection. Do not have contact with people who are already infected, keep a good hygiene by washing hands regularly and do not share foods, drinks or utensils with others.

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