CMV in Royal College of Midwives Magazine Issue 6 2014
28th November, 2014
Informing without overloading
Women already suffer from information overload at antenatal clinics and they don’t need even more about yet another medical condition that in all likelihood will not affect them. So, as professionals, we need to integrate CMV as an example of the sort of things that are discussed at present.
For example, NHS Choices (2014) presents information in a comprehensive FAQ format. The site talks about how vaccines are now recommended for pregnant women as a way of protecting their newborn babies against influenza and whooping cough. Shouldn’t it also emphasise across all pregnancy and baby pages of the site that infections in general (not just whooping cough) are a problem for babies, so that mothers know to avoid them where possible? And contain common sense advice to protect against acquiring multiple infections, such as kiss and cuddle your baby, but keep saliva away? Following such advice could reduce the incidence of the common cold, coughs, influenza and pneumonia.
We know that it’s not difficult to avoid CMV, because studies show that trained nurses don’t acquire this infection from contact with patients in excess whereas women working at, or attending, day care centres do. It is, therefore, likely that simply washing hands after wiping drool or changing nappies, as well as avoiding saliva when cuddling, kissing or consoling young children is sufficient.
The midwife’s role
The natural history of CMV is more complex than that of rubella, because women who have the antibody before they become pregnant can deliver babies with congenital CMV infection (de Vries et al, 2013).
Midwives already advise, inform, educate and communicate best practice guidelines to mothers without jargon. Armed with the key references cited here and factsheets available on the CMV Action website (cmvaction.org.uk), they should feel empowered to help guide mothers with this latest challenge.