A devastated mum who suffered a miscarriage is urging expectant mothers to be made aware of a little-known illness with potentially-fatal consequences.
Nickie Torvill, 24, was 17 weeks into her pregnancy when she lost her youngster, Lulah Rose, to parvovirus B19.
Also known as ‘slapped cheek syndrome’ - so-called because it causes rashes on the face cheeks in toddlers - it is common in children without serious consequence, but can pose a risk to unborn babies.
Nickie, from Sharlston, said: “I was nearly 18 weeks, everything seemed normal.
“You can only have parvovirus B19 once and I had never heard of it, but if you get it before 20 weeks in your pregnancy it can cause a miscarriage.
“It was like a blur when we were told, I couldn’t take any of it in. I was devastated, I have two other children and they were there when we were told - the eldest is six and she has taken it as hard as us.
“I thought they had got it wrong. I knew nothing about it, I had no symptoms at all, some people might get a cold and just think it’s flu.
“More should be done, it’s not tested for and midwives don’t even ask.
“I’ve got a friend who is pregnant and she’s asked about it now, others need to do the same.”
Dr Mike Gent, of Public Health England Yorkshire and the Humber, admitted that parvovirus B19 is not routinely screened for.
He said:“Like many viruses, there is no vaccine to protect against parvovirus B19. Many pregnant women will have had the infection in the past and then become immune. Most pregnant women who aren’t immune and get the infection have healthy babies.
“However, because there is a small risk to women in early pregnancy, we advise any women that are aware that they have been in contact with someone with the virus during pregnancy to contact their GP.”
Nickie and her husband Jamie are now raising funds to pay for a cuddle cot, specially designed to allow parents to spend time with their child before they are laid to rest.
The cot will be used by grieving families across the area.
To donate, log onto www.gofundme.com/Lulah-cuddlecot