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Rubella and pregnancy Tips

Definition of rubella

Rubella is a viral disease which causes epidemic usually mild rash. It primarily affects unvaccinated children. When non-immune women (by the vaccine or childhood illness) are infected during pregnancy, rubella can cause serious birth defects depending on the stage of organogenesis (organ formation), so the stage of pregnancy .

Rubella and Pregnancy

95% of pregnant women are immunized against rubella. The remaining 5% are diagnosed in early pregnancy and closely monitored throughout the duration of the pregnancy. Between 1997 and 2006, 324 maternal infections were diagnosed. They led to the birth of 33 children with congenital rubella malformations and 86 medical terminations of pregnancy (source InVS 2008).

How is rubella spread?

The rubella virus is transmitted through saliva droplets suspended in the air (coughing, sneezing), which then enters airways.

Risks of rubella during pregnancy to the fetus

They vary according to the stage of pregnancy, but very high between 8 and 11 weeks of gestation. Congenital rubella causes malformations of the eyes, inner ear, heart, responsible for serious handicaps (blindness, deafness, heart defects). There are also growth retardation, neurological disorders.

Amniocentesis or fetal blood puncture confirm or invalidate the diagnosis heavy. A therapeutic abortion can be envisaged.

Is there a vaccine against rubella?
Yes, there is a vaccine, which is also combined with measles and mumps vaccines: the triple vaccine MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). This triple vaccination is 12 months and between 13 and 24 months. Routine immunization in recent years has greatly decreased the risk of contamination.

How do you recognize rubella?

Symptoms begin with a mild fever, with headache, sore throat, cough sometimes. On the third day appear lymph nodes, neck and skull base. They precede approximately 36 hours of rash. Running first on the face, small red spots develop rapidly over the rest of the body, the legs being relatively spared. The rash lasts two to five days.

What is the doctor?

To reduce maternal fever, paracetamol is enough.
But to cut short his concerns, the only treatment is prevention: is vaccination before pregnancy.

If the transmission of rubella to the fetus is proven (blood tests), we practice an amniocentesis to confirm the presence of the virus to the 16th week of pregnancy, and if the situation requires, we propose a medical abortion. After 17 weeks of gestation, the risk of fetal malformation is almost zero: a monthly ultrasound ensures its proper development.

How not to be confused with rubella?

  • With other febrile rash illnesses: measles and scarlet fever in particular.
  • Chickenpox blisters and not with reddish spots, there is no possible confusion.

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