Chickenpox (Varicella Zoster)
Maternal Infections Chickenpox (Varicella Zoster)

Chickenpox (Varicella Zoster)

Newborns have a higher risk of death from chickenpox when the mother develops the illness from 5 days before delivery to 2 days after delivery, because the newborn has not received maternal antibodies transplacentally. For this reason, newborns should be separated from mothers who develop chickenpox during that time period1.

The chickenpox virus, either wild or the vaccine strain, has NOT been shown to be transmitted by human milk. Therefore, a mother who has chickenpox can provide breastmilk to her infant as long as there are no open lesions on the breast1,2.


  1. American Academy of Pediatrics In: Kimberline DW, Brady MT, Jackson MA, Long SS, eds. Section 3: Summary of Infectious Diseases, Red Book: 2018-2021 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases 31st Itasca IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2018: p.869-882
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk Pediatrics 129(3) March 2012 e827-e843