Rubella in Pregnancy

rubella in pregnancy

What is rubella illness?

Rubella or German measles is usually a mild illness. However, it can cause serious damage to the unborn child if pregnant females catch it. It is important that expected mothers get their blood test done to check for immune status against Rubella and if they are not immunised then get an Immunisation done before getting pregnant.

What is rubella illness?

Rubella (German measles) is a viral infection caused by the rubella virus. It causes rash, sore throat and swollen glands and mostly occurs in young children, but any age group can be affected.

Though rubella causes mild disease, but its importance increases if pregnant females get affected in first few moths of pregnancy, as it increases the chance of congenital abnormalities of the developing baby, this disability is called as congenital rubella syndrome. Complications of this syndrome include cataracts, deafness, and heart, lung, brain abnormalities and also increase incidence of miscarriages. The risk of baby developing congenital rubella syndrome is highest in the first 16 months of pregnancy and much lower after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Ideally, women should get their immune status checked before getting pregnant. Immunisation against rubella for children is a standard protocol in all countries. However, an extremely small number of children, the immunisation is not that effective, and when they become adults their body does not have enough antibodies to protect against rubella.

If you are pregnant, routine blood test are done to check for rubella antibodies in all antenatal healthcare facilities. In a majority of women this test is positive, which means that the women is immune. If the test is negative (no antibodies), the female is at risk if she comes in contact with rubella. It is advisable then that the female keeps away from people who might have rubella. Once the baby is born, one should be immunised to protect against rubella in future pregnancies.

During a contact with rubella, if the person is pregnant, one should check the rubella status. Most women are immune due to previous immunisation and will not develop rubella and no further action is needed in such cases. But, if the person is not immune and comes into contact with someone with rubella then blood tests may be advised. These can tell if you are developing rubella before symptoms begin. Further actionthen depends on the results of these tests.

See a doctor if you are pregnant and develop an illness that you think may be rubella. Other viruses can cause similarrashes similar to rubella. Most viruses do not harm the unborn child. Blood tests can confirm or rule out rubella if it is suspected.

In the mostunlikely scenario, that you are confirmed to have rubella, then you will be referred to an obstetrician to discuss the possibility of your baby having congenital rubella syndrome. There is no effective treatment to prevent the development of congenital rubella syndrome.

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