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Cytomegalovirus (CMV) in pregnancy

There is no recommended treatment for congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) during pregnancy.

In most cases, the virus will not cause any problems for your baby.

Types of treatment for newborn babies

Treatment for congenital CMV in newborn babies will depend on if your baby has:

  • obvious symptoms (symptomatic congenital CMV) and how severe those symptoms are
  • no obvious symptoms (asymptomatic congenital CMV)

Treatment for newborn babies with obvious symptoms

Your baby may show signs that CMV has affected their central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). If so, they will be treated with antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs are used to treat viral infections.

Signs that CMV has affected your baby’s central nervous system include:

  • Small head (microcephaly).
  • Seizures.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Eye problems.

Your baby may also need antiviral drugs if they have problems with other organs. For example, their liver or lungs.

Treatment for newborn babies with mild symptoms or no obvious symptoms

Treatment is not offered to babies born with:

  • mild symptoms that are not in the central nervous system
  • no obvious symptoms.

Hearing loss

Congenital CMV is the most common non-genetic cause of deafness or permanent hearing loss in children. These can be diagnosed by audiology tests. All newborn babies have a routine newborn hearing screening test. Your baby will get follow up appointments if they need it.

Related topics

Newborn screening

Symptoms of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in pregnancy

Diagnosing cytomegalovirus (CMV) in pregnancy

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Ireland - support for bereaved parents

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE.

Page last reviewed: 21/08/2019
Next review due: 21/08/2022