Rubella during Pregnancy

Rubella during Pregnancy

Rubella is a viral infection that can be very harmful to a pregnant woman and her fetus. A rubella infection in the first trimester increases the risk of losing the fetus by miscarriage or stillbirth.

It also increases the risk of premature delivery and the risk of the baby having severe birth defects, such as deafness, cataracts, congenital heart disease, or intellectual disabilities. Rubella has less effect on the fetus if the mother contracts the disease later in pregnancy, but it affects all stages of pregnancy.

What are the causes?

This condition is caused by a virus. The virus can spread from person to person (is contagious) through coughing or sneezing. Pregnant women can pass the virus to their fetus.

What are the signs or symptoms?

Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Fever.
  • Red rash is typically the first sign. It usually starts on the face and spreads to the body.
  • Headache.
  • Pink eye.
  • Sore throat, cough, runny nose.
  • Swollen lymph glands.
  • Pain and swelling of joints.

How is this diagnosed?

This condition is diagnosed based on:

  • Your symptoms and a physical exam.
  • Blood tests to confirm the diagnosis.

How is this treated?

There is no effective treatment for a pregnant woman who is infected with rubella. Immune globulin may be given, but its effectiveness is unknown. After you deliver your newborn, you may be given the rubella vaccine.

Follow these instructions at home:

If you have rubella or your child has rubella, take these actions to help stop it from spreading:

  • Stay home or keep your baby home for 7 days after the rash starts.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have inflammation and discharge from your eyes or nose.
  • You have a sore throat.
  • You have a cough.
  • You have headaches.
  • You have enlarged lymph nodes.
  • You have worsening joint or muscle aches.

Get help right away if:

  • You have severe pain in your abdomen.
  • You no longer feel your baby moving.
  • You have vaginal bleeding.
  • You have chest pain.
  • You have difficulty breathing.
  • You have large bruises.
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