Reduce your risk of CMV infection in pregnancy

What is CMV?

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus. When healthy people are infected they frequently have no symptoms. CMV is spread from person-to-person through contact with saliva, urine, tears, nasal mucus and intimate contact. Infected infants and young children, who may otherwise remain well, can easily pass this virus on to others.

Therefore, people who care for or work with young children are at increased risk of infection through activities like nappy changes.

If a pregnant woman is infected with CMV, there is a risk that her unborn baby will also become infected. This is called congenital CMV

Whilst most babies born with CMV will not have CMV disease, CMV can cause injury to the baby’s developing brain resulting in long term disabilities including deafness, epilepsy, intellectual impairment, cerebral palsy and in rare cases death.

Congenital CMV and cerebral palsy research

Congenital CMV is a known cause of cerebral palsy. Our researchers from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute, The University of Sydney are committed to collaborating with other investigators, professional organisations and advocacy groups to:

  • Understand more about the role of congenital CMV and its relationship with other risk factors for cerebral palsy
  • Increase community awareness of CMV and the available prevention strategies, particularly amongst mothers and those planning a family
  • Support health professionals to embed congenital CMV infection prevention strategies into routine pregnancy counselling

Simple prevention strategies

There are simple hygiene strategies to reduce the risk of CMV infection in pregnancy, which can also reduce the risk of other common illnesses like cold and flu.

The 5 steps to reduce your risk of CMV infection
Meet Bree and hear about her family’s journey with CMV.

Tell me more

  • To request more information or printed copies of the posters or pamphlets below, please provide your details here:

However Australian research has highlighted that:

  • less than 20% of pregnant women know about CMV (Lazarro, 2019)
  • only 10% of maternity health professionals routinely discuss CMV with pregnant women (Shand, 2018)

A group of collaborators from across Australia have developed a suite of CMV information resources, to be shared with pregnant women, women planning a pregnancy and their families, as well as maternity health professionals:

CMV information resources

CMV Awareness Videos (with or without captions) that can be shown in clinic waiting rooms.
We can freely provide these videos to run in your clinic waiting areas.
Please request through our online form.

Download these as pdfs and/or request free printed copies through our online form.

Congenital CMV e-Learning course for midwives

As a result of a partnership with Cerebral Palsy Alliance, The University of Sydney, CMV Australia and the Australian College of Midwives, a new free eLearning course: Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) – Prevention is in Your Hands is now available. Developed with midwives, obstetricians, infectious diseases specialists, researchers and families who have been impacted by CMV, this interactive course aims to update midwives on how CMV can adversely affect babies and highlight preventive strategies for reducing the risk of infection during pregnancy.

Family of four and a little son with cerebral palsy

Case Study
When Pam was 26 weeks pregnant, some concerns were raised at a routine check-up. After further investigations her medical team found she had had a CMV infection during her early pregnancy and that the virus had been passed to her baby. Christopher was born with a number of difficulties and went on to have cerebral palsy. In the past four years his smile and personality have been at the centre of their growing family. Now Pam and her family are taking the opportunity to share their story and raise awareness about CMV.

> Read more on our blog

This work is possible thanks to partnerships with our wonderful collaborators and funding support through the NH&MRC, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation and our passionate donors.