Grieving mum speaks out about dangers of slapped cheek syndrome after losing her baby boy
A heartbroken mum wants pregnant women to be aware of the dangers of a deadly virus that killed her baby boy.
Gemma, a mum in Newcastle, was 16 weeks and five days pregnant when doctors told her she’d contracted slapped cheek from the nursery she worked in.
It normally clears itself up but can be dangerous to pregnant women.
After contracting the virus – known as parvovirus B19 – doctors told the heartbreaking news that her unborn baby was unwell.
Gemma said: “At almost 18 weeks my baby had begun to show signs of foetal anaemia which is caused by the virus.
“Due to already having a large haematoma in my uterus, I was re-scanned two days later which confirmed my boy was becoming rapidly more ill.
“It was confirmed the anaemia was caused by the slapped cheek.”
Gemma, 25, and her husband Terry, 26, were told their baby would need to undergo a blood transfusion in the womb.
“This was scheduled for two days later as he was deteriorating so quickly, his heart was working so hard that if we didn’t agree to the transfusion we would lose him anyway,” she said.
The couple wanted to give their baby a fighting a chance and underwent the transfusion, but two days later when they went for scan they were given the heartbreaking news their little boy had died.
Gemma said: “I chose to give birth to my little boy and two days later at 19 weeks I was induced.”
On March 28, Gemma gave birth to her baby boy.
Gemma said: “I pushed him into the world, he was beautiful and perfect.
“We held him and kissed him, the pain and love I felt for my little boy is indescribable.
“We left the hospital with empty arms and an empty heart that day.”
Now Gemma, who also has a seven-year-old son named Logan, has launched a petition calling on the Government to protect pregnant women and their unborn babies from slapped cheek.
“I work in a childcare setting and have done for more than four years and at my first midwife appointment I asked what I should be aware of,” Gemma said.
“I was informed about slapped cheek but told not to worry as I was ‘probably immune anyway’, well my case and many other cases prove not everybody is immune whether they have worked with children or not.”
Gemma wants schools to be made aware of the dangers of the virus and for blood tests to be offered to women who may come into contact with the virus.
She hopes that women who are more at risk of the disease could be offered a blood test at their first midwife appointment.
Gemma added: “Although we won’t be able to eradicate slapped cheek, we can at least try and come together and raise awareness.
“I want to put something in place so fewer people have to go through this.”