April 16, 2009

Dealing With Rubella During Pregnancy

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Rubella is also known as German measles. This disease is different from regular measles and an immunity from regular measles doesn’t protect you from Rubella . The Rubella virus is a Teratogenic agent which means that it can cause birth defects and/ or malformations. A pregnant woman who contracts rubella can pass the virus on to her unborn child through placental fluids. The most common effects of rubella transmitted in this manner are cataracts, heart defects, and sensorineural deafness.

Be sure to know whether you are immune to rubella or not, and take precautions accordingly. While it is wiser to be screened for rubella immunity, much before you plan to conceive; you must get a blood test to check the same during your initial prenatal appointment. Pregnant women who contract rubella also run a higher risk of miscarriage. If you have small children at home, make sure they have been vaccinated against rubella too. Also, get yourself vaccinated before you plan to conceive.


The symptoms are vague, and it may take you a while to know that you have rubella. After about 12 to 23 days, you may begin to see the symptoms, if at all. It begins with a low fever, swollen lymph nodes, malaise, swelling and joint pain. A runny nose and red eyes as well as rash are also the other symptoms.

The rash can last for a few days. It erupts first on the face and then slowly spreads to the other parts of the body. The joint pain and swollen glands can remain for several more weeks. Rubella will be contagious a week before to a week or so after the first set of rash appears. But the time that rubella is most contagious is when the rash is erupting.

What if you have been exposed to rubella when you are Pregnant: You may be immune to rubella, but if you have had any contact or have met a person with rubella, call up your doctor and let him/her know. Take a prior appointment as you do not want to pass on the infection to other pregnant women. You may then need to take a blood test to check if you have rubella. If there is any change in antibodies, then it may show a recent infection.

If you have rubella in early pregnancy, then your doctor can tell you whether you need to terminate the pregnancy – that depends upon the risk your baby is at. Alternatively, the doctor may give you a shot of immune globulin to reduce the chances of the baby suffering birth defects.