A mum was devastated after she contracted a deadly virus that killed her baby – and is now speaking out to warn others of the condition.
Gemma Carlile was 16 weeks pregnant with a boy when doctors told her she had contracted slapped cheek from the nursery that she works at.
The virus is typical of the name because it causes a bright red flash on children’s cheeks.
The common virus normally clears itself up but it can be dangerous to pregnant women.
Doctors told Gemma the heartbreaking news that her unborn baby was unwell after contacting the virus, also know as parvovirus B19, according to the Chronicle Live.
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.”
The 25-year-old was told with her husband Terry, 26, that their baby would undergo a blood transfusion in the womb.
She said: “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”.
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 Terence Arthur.
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.”
Gemma, who also has a seven-year-old son, Logan, has launched a petition calling on the Government to protect pregnant women and their unborn babies from slapped cheek.
She 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 said: “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.
“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.”
She hopes that women who are more at risk of the disease could be offered a blood test at their first midwife appointment.
To sign the petition, visit www.change.org