Infections during pregnancy can cause a variety of birth defects.
Some examples are:
Congenital rubella (the infection posing the highest risk for fetal damage) syndrome is characterized by vision and/or hearing loss, heart defects, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy.
Toxoplasmosis infection of the mother can result in eye infections that threaten vision, hearing loss, learning disabilities, enlarged liver or spleen, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy in the infant.
Genital herpes virus infection of the mother can cause brain damage, cerebral palsy, vision or hearing impairment, and death of the baby if the virus is transmitted to the infant before or during the birth.
Fifth disease can cause a dangerous form of anemia, heart failure, and, in some cases, fetal death,
Congenital varicella syndrome, which is caused by chicken pox, can lead to scars, defects of muscle and bone, malformed and paralyzed limbs, a smaller-than- normal head, blindness, seizures, and mental retardation. This is an uncommon occurrence in pregnant women who become infected with chicken pox.
Talk to your health care provider about ways you can avoid these infections while you're pregnant and what you should do if you're exposed to any of them.