RUBELLA

Your Pregnancy - - Talking Point -

Rubella ( Ger­man measles) is a mild vi­ral ill­ness that causes a sore throat, swollen glands and a rash, but it is dan­ger­ous for preg­nant women. Con­gen­i­tal rubella syn­drome is very dan­ger­ous for un­born ba­bies and can cause deaf­ness, cataracts, and ab­nor­mal­i­ties in the baby’s heart, lungs and brain. A preg­nant woman with rubella is also more likely to mis­carry. The risk is high­est in the first trimester.

Visit your gy­nae­col­o­gist be­fore preg­nancy and do a blood test to see if you have rubella an­ti­bod­ies, says gy­nae­col­o­gist Dr Nir­vashni Dwarka. If you are pos­i­tive for rubella an­ti­bod­ies, this means you are vac­ci­nated. If not, then have a rubella vac­cine be­fore conception (and do not con­ceive for 28 days to pro­tect your baby once you’re preg­nant). You may need a booster shot even if you had the vac­cine in child­hood. “But don’t have the vac­cine if you are or may be preg­nant,” she adds. (If you are ac­ci­den­tally vac­ci­nated while preg­nant, don’t stress as there is no ev­i­dence that this will be harm­ful, says ex­pert gy­nae­col­o­gist Dr Bron­wyn Moore.) If you are al­ready preg­nant and un­vac­ci­nated against rubella, you need to be vig­i­lant in avoid­ing sick peo­ple. “If you do de­velop flu-like symp­toms, go to your clinic and do a blood test to check for an acute rubella in­fec­tion,” says Dr Dwarka. “If you are very in­fected and in the early stages of preg­nancy your doc­tor will un­for­tu­nately rec­om­mend a ter­mi­na­tion.”

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