Pregnancy and viral meningitis


Posted by Cary Smyth on 07 April 2011

Hi everyone. I have spent some time on this wonderful website, and can only offer condolences to so many people that have struggled through such difficult experiences.

I am pregnant, and have had viral meningitis at week 17. It was from the group enterovirussus, but we do not know the exact strain yet. I had quite severe simptoms for two weeks (vomitting, severe headache and neck stiffness, sensitiviry to light, but no fever) and am now, after four weeks still very tired - although pregnacy in itself can be quite tiring.

It is difficult for me to find information on the effect this would have had on our baby. Most people say it should all be fine, what worries me is that my gynaecologist seems to be the person most concerned that there may be long-term damage done, with a risk of permanent disability.

Does anyone have some information on this, or at least be able to point me in the right direction?

Thank you, and blessings to all


Posted on 10 July 2017

Comment by Marianne Hockert

To all who are concerned about viral meningitis when pregnant. I had viral meningitis when I was almost seven months pregnant in Germany in 1975. I was a high risk pregnancy and knew I was going to be having a C-Section. A week in the hospital and 2 spinal taps later I was released and the pregnancy continued normal and we had our daughter iafter two months. She is now 41 years old and a school teacher and fixing to go for her Doctorate. There was some problems with. Childhood , asthma and allergic to everything but the doctors insist that was not caused by the meningitis. She also never got Chicken Pox. The one thing that she does have from me having it is a calcium deposit on her spine. The Doctor asked her had her mother ever had a bad virus when I was pregnant and she told him about the viral meningitis and he laughed and said well that explains it. But absolutely no long term effects.

Posted on 19 September 2016

Comment by Grey goose

I contracted viral meningitis at 13wks pregnant and was hospitalised for 2 days I also suffered from hyperemesis (severe pregnancy sickness) and contracted chickenpox at 30wks. I was so worried this would cause damage to my baby daughter. She was born 9 days overdue and no apparent issues but as time has gone by I'm very concerned about her..she has very poor eye contact and doesn't seek any attention from us, doesn't smile or laugh often and does lots of repetitive hand movements. She is 5 months and one week old and I am so scared something is wrong :(

Posted on 17 November 2015

Comment by Elana K.


My son is turning 18 next month, and I was reflecting on my pregnancy and birth experience with him this morning. I had viral meningitis when I was 23 weeks along, and I wondered if that caused his eagerness to come into the world so I did a Google.

He tried to come at 28 weeks, but we kept him cooking until week 36. Had to come then because my blood pressure was through the roof and they couldn't bring it down. He was 5lbs 7.4oz and 21 inches long.

Today, he is 6'1", brilliant self-taught musician, and looking at colleges.

It's super scary to get this, especially when you are pregnant. I hope my small contribution helps someone else looking for this type of information.

Posted on 21 September 2015

Comment by Keri Pender

I am currently 11 weeks pregnant and in the hospital diagnosed with viral meningitis. I'm worried how the treatment medications, Zofram, and morphine will affect my baby. I know a lot of really important growth is happenening right now.

Posted on 17 September 2015

Comment by Liz F

Had had viral and bacterial meningitis when I was 6 weeks pregnant. The doctors told me that it is very rare to have both at the same time. I am a teacher and one of my students had viral meningitis a week prior to when I was diagnosed with it. They also think that the bacterial part can from eating lunch meat.

I was hospitalized for 7 days. When I went in for my 20 week appointment my Obgyn said that he was surprised to see me still pregnant. At the 20 week ultrasound my daughter measure small. My Obgyn thought it was due to having the meningitis and my body did what ever it could to protect the baby. Through out the rest of the pregnancy I would have ultrasound done to check her growth. She seemed to stay small

She was born 2 weeks early by emergence c-section. She was 7lbs 1oz when she was born. She spent 2 days in the NICU to treat an infection.

She had a milk protien allergen and acid reflux. At 6 months old she started getting ear infections. She is now 3 years old and has had 4 sets of tubes, sinus surgery to carve out her sinus and adenoids removed. She still struggles with sinus infections and ear infections. She no longer has the milk protien allergy. She still has acid reflux that we have to give her Meds for twice aday. She is very small for her age and is monitored very close.

She does not have any development delays. She is a very bright girl.

The doctors never will tell me if they think any of it has anything to do with my having meningitis so early on during the pregnancy.

Posted on 11 September 2015

Comment by stella dunn

I had viral meningitis twice when I was pregnant last year. Both time admitted to hospital, lumbar punchers done both times to confirm it. I made a full recovery and my little boy was born perfectly healthy he has developed has he should and has just started to say his first words. He's perfect
The amount of stuff they pumped into my arms intervenusely as they have to treat for both until confirmed and then I had anti vitals both times I was worried sick. But I shouldn't have worried because as I said he is prefect x

Posted on 11 August 2015

Comment by Lauren

I am currently sitting in hospital with meningitis, they're unsure if it's viral or bacterial so I'm being given both forms of antibiotics. I'm also 28 weeks pregnant & nervous as anything that he is going to be effected by these antibiotics and or the meningitis. He's already not doing so well on the inside, that this just feels like another hiccup along our already bumpy road :(
Seeing all these posts have helped a bit in knowing nothing extremely major has happened to anyone's buns, but I am going to keep an eye on this page as I would love to keep seeing the out come of others. & I will share my story once it's complete :) x

Posted on 05 May 2015

Comment by Mandy k

Hi, I stumbled across this forum today and thought I would share my story.
My mother had spinal meningitis while pregnant with me In the 80's. It was hell on her and I am so grateful for all that she went through during her pregnancy with me. She is doing well and I am happy and healthy, expecting a baby of my own. Prayers for you all. I hope everything goes well for all of you and your precious babies! God bless.

Posted on 09 December 2013

Comment by Sondra Goldstein

My daughter in law was just hospitalized with viral meningitis in her week 23 of her pregnancy.
Does anyone know of the health effects for the mother and developing baby as a result of viral meningitis in week 23 of pregnancy?

Posted on 19 November 2013

Comment by Nora Jenson


I was recently diagnosed with viral meningitis (caused by the enterovirus strain) at 12 weeks and 4 days. None of the doctors I have spoken to have actually seen a case of a pregnant woman with viral meningitis, although they all tell me it should not affect the baby. Can anyone please post their experiences, and let me know if your baby suffered any consequence? I am a nervous wreck.

Thank you.

Posted on 06 September 2013

Comment by Galina Vlasenko

I have contracted a viral meningitis when I was 16/17 weeks pregnant and was given 3 sets of strong antibiotics (including amoxicillin).
I was very much worried about my baby developing any side effects from both the illness and the treatment.
Going on the website didn't help, it made me feel even worse, because there were all sorts of horrible stories.
Therefore, I made a promise to myself that if all goes well or standard I would definitely write about this, to support other worrying moms.
Today my daughter is almost 5 months old. She was born, just like her brother, by being induced one week late. At birth she had no abnormalities and had a high apgar score (I don't remember exactly how much) and passed all the newborn standard tests. So far she is a very curious child and doesn't seem to be any different in terms of health/development from her older brother.
Obviously, she is still very little, so it is hard to say whether she will have any issues in the future, however, if she does they might not be linked to meningitis.
Finally, I just wanted to wish good luck to all the loving and worrying moms and also to wish good health to them and their future kids :)

Posted on 19 May 2013

Comment by Elena Koronaiou Daffe

I am 24 weeks pregnant from Athens Greece and had been diagnosed with virus meningitis 11 days now.They keep me hospitalised with 3 rd generation antibiotics and from all the meetings i had the gynaecologists they did not seem to worry so much.They said only if the disease meet the pregnancy at the 1 st trimester they would be afraid.Anyone who knows more let help us.Good luck to us and our unborns.

Posted on 11 April 2013

Comment by Sonia Haubner

I contacted viral meningitis in 2004 with my now 9yr old daughter. I was treated with IV meds and meds for my spinal epidural headache. They'd given me a spinal tap to determine if I had viral or bacterial meningitis.

She was born full term and my OB had told me not to worry.

She had speech delay along with high sensitivity to clothing and how it felt on her skin, pajamas, socks, etc... I thank God for tag less clothing! Her frustrations were high, temper tantrums higher and she showed early signs of anxiety.

To add to her list, she had food allergies and asthma. She recently had an anaphylactic reaction that triggered a panic attack. Also she has been recently diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome... Poor girl :(

We held her back because of her emotional issues. She is currently in second grade. But she still has issues with coping skills. Her ability to deal with conflict, inability to understand school work and certain social issues I believe, all correlate with the nervous system and how meningitis effected her.

I too, wish there was more information out there to help us. We are now seeking help through a behavioral therapist and because her issues are now spilling into the classroom, we have requested a full eval from the school.

Posted on 18 September 2012

Comment by Heather-Fiona Egan

Hello Cary,

I hope your story had a happy ending. Mine did.

I contracted meningitis at 38 weeks pregnant and like you they could not say whether it was bacterial or viral meningitis. They gave me the drugs just in case.

Things got quite hairy, but I am happy to say, my daughter was born by emergency c section (after I spontaneously went into labour on my due date) and arrived a very healthy 10lbs 13oz!

She is now 4 and living a full and active life with no side affects.

I still sometimes wonder about how lucky we were and how other people deal with this particular problem.

Posted on 14 September 2012

Comment by Katie Sprink

In 2005 I had viral meningitis at approximately 21 weeks pregnant. I was hospitalized for 10 days. My daughter was born 30 days early and was in NICU for a few days, and hospitalized outside NICU for another week, or so.
She walked late (15 months) and talked late (2 years). She had her tonsils and adenoids removed at two (after which she started talking a TON).
She will be seven years old in November. She skipped Kindergarten and went straight to first grade (she's in second grade now, doing wonderfully). She plays piano beautifully, she dances ballet and plays soccer. She is a pleasant, sweet, intelligent person.
I do believe though that her anxiety and physical discomfort stem from having been sick during my pregnancy. Unfortunately, we are not likely to get specific answers about the effects of viral meningitis on a fetus during pregnancy for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that studying the effects of (any) virus during fetal development can be complicated because the susceptibility of a fetus to harm from various sources changes with development. By this I mean a fetus who was 3 weeks, versus 20 weeks, versus 38 weeks would be impacted differently by virus AND by treatment itself.

Posted on 30 August 2012

Comment by Valerie villela

Im jus concerned cuz im tryn to get pregnant an im probaly only two i jus tookthis hopen everythang is still in concern

Posted on 06 June 2012

Comment by Alida Rautenbach

I had viral meningitis while pregnant 28 weeks. My son is now 5 and was born with clubfeet and some neurological damage. He has speech delay problems, strage this was mentioned and developmental delay issues. Fine motor skills severely delayed, was only potty trained at 4 and still struggles with some issues that he should have mastered long ago. I would like to know what the outcome of the pregnancy was for Carry Smith that posted the question. We still have so many unanswered questions an unfortunately doctors that did not even try to answer these. I have been hunting for answers ever since is birth, since he has not been ¨diagnosed with any real diagnosis¨except a wait and see phylosophy...

Posted on 11 April 2012

Comment by Debbie Hawks

I know a girl who is about 12 weeks pregnant who had spinal meningitis at the age of 3. She lost her hearing as a result of having it. Will this in any way affect the baby she is carrying? She hasn't seen an ob-gyn yet so I am worried about the baby. Thank you.

Posted on 08 April 2012

Comment by Ann Stager

I wish there was a further discussion on this topic b/c I currently have viral meningitis at 27 weeks pregnant and have been dealing with it so far for 6 days, 3 of which I spent in the hospital. They could not even tell me the cause other than its definately viral and not fungal or bacterial by cultures. I would like to know the
viral source...but they said the cultures cannot pinpoint this. Anyone else with experiences with this during pregnancy please post your stories. Thanks

Posted on 21 October 2011

Comment by Karen Goodrich


I had viral meningitis at the beginning of my third trimester. It was so rare at that time (1996) that there was no one to ask questions of or even anyone who had their baby survive. As you may know it is painful and there are so few medications that can help with the pain. I was in ICU for 2 weeks and on the maternity floor for 1 1/2 weeks.

I gave birth 21 days early by C-section. Adam scored high in his apghar and seemed just fine until he was 4 months old. He then started to shows sign of a panic disorder. He would break out in a sweat and flick his fingers if I left the room. This behavior was not a concern to the pediatrician (I had one of the best), it continued to get worse as he aged, if I left the house he would become so distraught he would pass out. They finally ended up putting him on a low dose relaxant for the bad times. His behavior reactions always seemed to be tied to one trigger or another. It could be a smoke detector going off, a thunderstorm, or even flames from a match. The pediatrician guessed he would out grow it. Adam is now 15 and he has not had any lingering effects in the last 3 years. Viral Meningitis works on your nervous system and such can affect many things, many of which are just minor things that you have to adapt to. I would not worry and medicine has come a long way since my experience. I hope this helps.


Posted on 07 October 2011

Comment by Sahl Martin

My wife had viral meningitis at week 38. They gave IV antibiotics as a precautionary until bacterial meningitis was ruled out (4 days later). They stated possible side effect for the baby from the antibiotics was hearing damage. My son is 10 now with no hearing deficit, but a minor speech developmental delay which we wonder about. The meningitis itself did not seem to harm the fetus/newborn at all.

Posted on 08 April 2011

Comment by shirley gieron

Hi Cary
MRF does have a recovery booklet which can be emailed to you or posted if you live in the UK/Ireland. We could aslo talk through your worries on our 24 hour helpline 080 8800 3344(UK) 1800 41 33 44(RoI) or email
The Helpline Team

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