Glandular Fever and Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Glandular Fever and Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 16 Mar 2016 - 12:52.


Glandular Fever more commonly known as IM (infectious mononucleosis) is a type of viral infection characterized by fever and swollen lymph nodes that does not cause serious problems in pregnancy like other viruses. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), glandular fever is caused by the EBV (Epstein-Barr virus), mononucleosis or mono, which may make you feel ill and tired but does not increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. However, glandular fever during pregnancy is an unhealthy condition, resulting in high body temperature and fatigue. You need to consult a physician immediately if you happen to suffer from the infection during pregnancy.

Is glandular fever dangerous in pregnancy?

Studies have shown that about 95 percent of 35-year-old women tend to have antibodies that protect them from an EBV infection. And if, antibodies are taken to fight the infection, your unborn baby also has them as well. Hence, the risk of your unborn baby suffering from the symptoms of glandular fever is less. 

Glandular fever may be caused due to:

  • Kissing disease: as it spreads through the saliva of the infected individual
  • EBV (Epstein-Barr virus): Glandular fever spreads due to viral infection and EBV is the cause of contagious infection
  • Sharing toothbrushes and other belongings of an infected person .Sharing food and drinks of an infected person
  • Exposure to sneezing and coughing of an affected individual
  • Flu-like symptoms. Like many virus infections, glandular fever often causes symptoms such as nausea, fever, headaches, loss of appetite and pain in upper abdomen. According to Mary Lake Polan, an obstetrician who writes for the Baby Center website, high fever of 103 or more could raise the risk of fetal loss or birth defects in the first trimester. In such circumstances, immediate medical attention must be sought.
  • Skin rash: A red and non-itchy skin rash can appear in some individuals.
  • Extreme fatigue. A feeling of intense weakness and tiredness often occurs during glandular fever
  • Sore throat. The tenderness may be moderate but commonly the throat is very swollen and red and resembles a bad bout of tonsillitis. In fact glandular fever is usually suspected when 'tonsillitis' is intense and lasts for a longer time.
  • Swelling in Spleen. Spleen organ is a part of the immune system and is under the ribs on the left side of the abdomen. Similarly like the lymph glands, it swells and can sometimes be felt below the ribs. Rarely, it causes moderate pain in the upper left section of the abdomen.
  • Swelling around eyes. One out of 5 people afflicted with glandular fever have swelling around the eyes, which vanishes quickly.
  • Swollen glands. As the body's immune system defeats off the virus the lymph glands swell. Any lymph nodes in the body can be affected, but the glands in the armpits and the neck are usually the most prominent, which can become tender and swollen.
  • Yellowing of the skin: When the virus affects the liver, you may have yellowing of skin, which can cause jaundice. Seek medical assistance immediately if you develop signs of liver disease or abdominal pain.




Measures for speedy recovery when you are suffering from Glandular fever during pregnancy:

  • Drink plenty of fluids:  When you are down with fever and expecting, increase your consumption of fluid intake, which will help prevent excess fatigue and the risk of dehydration. Consume lots of water and fresh fruit juices regularly to recover fast. You may not eat properly when you are suffering from glandular fever due to loss of appetite and hence it is better to drink some fruit juices to ensure nutrition for your baby and you. Cut off alcohol consumption and other caffeinated drinks when pregnant and down with glandular fever.
  • Painkillers:  Tylenol (paracetamol) or ibuprofen which are easily available over-the-counter may help reduce pain and bring down fever.

  • Get Rest: Plenty of rest speeds up your recovery process from glandular fever. The doctor usually suggests 10-12 hours of sleep every night when you are down with the fever, which will reduce the risk of injury to swollen organs. During pregnancy, women already have some degree of fatigue and hence may need even more rest.


Some prevention tips include:

  • Maintaining good hygiene by washing your hands properly with soap, especially after coughing and sneezing

  • Avoiding saliva contact with glandular fever patients

  • Preventing using same dishes with the patients
*Disclaimer This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.