Mouth hand foot disease in pregnancy

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In this article

  • What is the mouth, hands and feet
  • How it is transmitted
  • How to cure
  • Mouth hands feet in pregnancy

What is mouth hand and foot disease

The "mouth hands feet", also in the variants "hands feet mouth", "hands mouth feet" and "feet hands mouth" is a exanthematous disease of viral origin, usually caused by viruses belonging to the family Coxsackie and, among these, in particular the type A16. To a lesser extent, other viruses such as enterovirus (in particular type A71). 


It owes its name to the fact that it is typically characterized by a skin manifestation with the appearance of small watery bubbles similar to those of chickenpox, located precisely on the palms of the hands, around the mouth and on the soles of the feet. This skin rash is usually preceded by nonspecific symptoms like fever (not very high, usually at most 38-38,5 ° C), general malaise, sore throat and gastrointestinal disturbances such as vomiting and diarrhea. 


The most affected are children. Adults, if affected, tend to manifest the disease with more nuanced symptoms - for example, there may be no skin rash - which also make it difficult to diagnose it.


Hand foot mouth disease in children: photos to recognize it

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It is a typical childhood disease that is rather trivial, which passes by itself without the need for treatment. The skin manifestation affects the hands, feet and mouth, with the appearance of ...

How it is transmitted

The hand and foot mouth is a very contagious disease because the viruses responsible are transmitted very easily. There are three main ways of contagion:

  • by respiratory, coming into contact with the respiratory secretions of an affected individual (mainly through coughing and sneezing);
  • by feces. Since faeces contain the virus, contact with faecal material can be contagious;
  • direct contact with affected individuals (through kisses, hugs or in any case very close contacts) and with contaminated objects. 

There can rarely be contagion in environments such as swimming pools, if the water is not adequately treated with chlorine. 

"Theoretically possible but quite rare is the transition from an infected mother to a newborn during childbirth or through breastfeeding," he says.  Alberto Villani, head of the Operating Unit of General Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in the city.

Contagion almost always occurs in the school environment and for this reason, after the first cases, all parents are alerted by teachers to adopt hygiene measures to limit transmission.

Read also: Exanthematous diseases, symptoms and treatments

How to cure

There is no specific cure for mouth and foot disease, which does have a benign course and passes by itself after about 7-10 days.


Treatment simply consists of management of fever and malaise, for example with paracetamol, and in the care of hygiene, washing your hands well to stem the spread of the disease. If the blisters cause discomfort in the mouth, it is better to focus on a diet based on soft or semi-liquid foods, less irritating. For the same reason, better avoid acidic or spicy foods, like freshly squeezed orange juice.

What if i contract during pregnancy?

"Transmission occurs mainly among children, who easily put their hands in their mouths without washing them first, but contagion to adults cannot be excluded"Villani answers.

If you contract it during pregnancy it is assumed that there could be consequences, of varying severity depending on the period of pregnancy. In particular, it is hypothesized that contracting the disease in the first quarter may result in the risk of abortion and hydrops (accumulation of fluids) fetal, but it must be specified that the existence of a cause-and-effect relationship between infection and fetal damage has not yet been demonstrated with certainty ".

"Getting the infection towards the end of pregnancy can mean passing it on to the newborn, which however usually manifests it in a mild form."

In case of infection during pregnancy, this will be followed with greater attention and with more assiduous checks, both ultrasound and laboratory, in order to monitor fetal well-being.

Other sources for this article

  • Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, materiale informativo dei Centers for Disease Control and Prevention di Atlanta;
  • AM Guerra, E Orille, M Waseem, Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, StatPearls, 29 maggio 2022

  • infectious diseases
  • hands-mouth-feet
  • disease hands mouth feet
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