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Raising Awareness of CMV

This weekend FIT4MOM Ann Arbor is holding a special charity class on September 8th to benefit the National CMV Foundation. What is CMV? It’s short for cytomegalovirus (sigh-toh-mega-loh-virus) which is a common cold virus that usually causes minor symptoms – sore throat and fatigue sort of thing – but in pregnant women it severely hurts the unborn baby. Congenital CMV is among the leading cause of hearing loss in infants, and also frequently causes cerebral palsy, epilepsy and vision loss. It’s all too common – approximately 1/150 babies are born with it, and of those about 20% will have serious symptoms.

I know so much about congenital CMV infection because my youngest daughter has it. She is deaf and just got cochlear implants to help her hear. It is hard as a parent to know that something you did may have caused your baby to be deaf. CMV is most often transmitted from toddler or preschool aged kids through their saliva to their expectant mothers – things like sharing straws, or kissing away tears. And just so you know, you can’t get CMV through casual contact with someone infected with CMV – it’s the saliva and other body fluids that us moms get covered in while caring for our kids that put us at risk. The thing about congenital CMV is though, that no one talks about it or how to prevent it. Even though it’s very common, awareness is low. If an expectant mother does not know that CMV exists, how can she protect her baby from it?

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These days I no longer blame myself for my daughter’s condition – I blame a lack of education. That’s why I’m working with the National CMV Foundation to get the word out about congenital CMV to mama’s all over Washtenaw County. Thank you for reading this and for supporting my family! To learn more about CMV check out the National CMV Foundation’s awesome website.