Röteln Schwangerschaft Rubella and pregnancy

Rubella, also known as German measles, is a preventable illness caused by a viral infection. It’s usually a mild disease that may not cause any symptoms but can be very dangerous if you catch it during pregnancy – particularly within the first 12 weeks.

This article has been verified by a medical professional

Impact of rubella on pregnancy

During pregnancy, rubella infection can cause severe damage to the baby, especially during the first 3 months. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) occurs when a pregnant mother passes rubella onto the baby. This can cause various birth defects including heart issues, vision and hearing problems, intellectual disability, low birth weight, and problems with the bone marrow, liver, and spleen.

Rubella infection during pregnancy also increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm birth.

How rubella spreads

Rubella is a highly contagious virus that spreads through the air when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. It can also spread by sharing food or drinks. During pregnancy, rubella can pass from a mom to her baby.

Symptoms of rubella

The most common physical signs of rubella include mild, flu-like symptoms and a pinkish rash that starts on the face and then spreads around the body. 

More symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Low fever (38.9ºC/102ºF)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Red eyes or pink eye
  • Swelling in the neck or behind the ears
  • Aches and pains in the muscles and joints

Up to 50% of people infected with rubella display no symptoms at all but are still contagious.

Diagnosis of rubella

Since the rubella rash looks very similar to other viral rashes, the only way to know for certain if you have rubella is through a blood test or a virus culture. These lab tests make it possible to detect rubella antibodies and show if you are currently infected or have had rubella in the past.

Treatment to improve pregnancy outcomes

If you’re not immune to rubella, it’s very important to get the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. After getting vaccinated, it’s recommended to wait a month before trying to conceive. Having rubella immunity will stop you from infecting your baby during pregnancy and prevent serious complications associated with the virus.

It’s not safe to get this vaccination during pregnancy. So if you get pregnant and don’t have the vaccination, stay away from anyone who is infected.

If you get pregnant without immunity to rubella and catch the virus, let your doctor know right away. Your baby will need to be closely monitored after birth to catch any health issues early. Doctors recommend bed rest, drinking enough fluids, and acetaminophen (paracetamol) to reduce fever and relieve symptoms of rubella. In case of a severe infection, treatment can involve a blood transfusion or steroid medication to reduce inflammation.

This article has been verified by a medical professional

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