Table of contents:
- Main symptoms
- How to identify rubella in pregnancy
- Possible consequences of rubella
- How the treatment is done
- Prevention of rubella in pregnancy
Rubella is a relatively common disease in childhood that, when it appears in pregnancy, can cause malformations in the baby such as microcephaly, deafness or changes in the eyes. Thus, the ideal is that the woman takes the vaccine against the disease before becoming pregnant.
The rubella vaccine is usually given in childhood, but women who do not get the vaccine or their booster dose should be vaccinated before becoming pregnant. After taking the vaccine, a woman should wait at least 1 month to start trying to get pregnant.
It is important that the woman performs prenatal care according to the doctor's advice, so that it is possible to check if she has immunity against rubella or if she is infected, and it is also possible to check the baby's he alth
The symptoms of rubella in pregnancy are similar to those shown by anyone who develops the disease:
- Muscle pain;
- Low fever up to 38ºC;
- Loss of appetite;
- Nasal congestion;
- Joint pain;
- Swollen glands or hips, especially near the neck;
- Small red spots on the face that then spread all over the body and last about 3 days.
Symptoms can take up to 23 days to appear, but transmission of the virus can occur from 7 days before symptoms appear to 7 days after the appearance of red patches on the skin.
As soon as signs and symptoms possibly indicative of rubella are noticed, it is important that the woman consults the gynecologist so that tests are carried out to know if there is a rubella virus infection and, thus, it is possible to carry out the appropriate follow-up for prevent complications for the woman and the baby.
How to identify rubella in pregnancy
To identify rubella in pregnancy, it is recommended that women carry out blood tests to identify the presence of antibodies against the rubella virus, such as the IgG rubella test and IgM dosage, which allows to know not only whether the person is infected or immunized.
This exam is part of the exams indicated in prenatal care, however it is also possible to perform this exam if signs and symptoms of rubella appear during pregnancy. See more about the IgG rubella test.
In some cases, the doctor may also recommend performing an RT-PCR test to detect the virus from a nasal or throat secretion sample, as well as a urine and blood test.
Possible consequences of rubella
The consequences of rubella can arise when the disease is not identified as soon as the first symptoms appear and the follow-up is not done according to the doctor's recommendation.
The risk of transmission of rubella to the baby is greater in the first trimester of pregnancy and if this happens the baby should be born with congenital rubella, and may present some changes, such as:
- Eye changes such as blindness, cataracts, microphthalmia, glaucoma and retinopathy;
- Heart problems such as pulmonary artery stenosis, ventricular septal defect, myocarditis
- Nervous system injuries such as chronic meningitis, vasculitis with calcification
- Mental retardation;
- Hemolytic anemia;
- Liver problems such as fibrosis and hepatic giant cell transformation.
Fetal alterations can be observed in exams performed during pregnancy and shortly after birth, through morphological ultrasound performed between the 18th and 22nd week of gestation.
However, some changes are diagnosed only after the baby is born or throughout its growth. In addition, to confirm the rubella virus infection, a blood test may also be performed on the baby to check for the presence of antibodies against rubella.
How the treatment is done
The treatment of rubella in pregnancy consists of controlling the symptoms that the woman feels because there is no specific treatment that can cure rubella. Treatment is usually done with medication to control fever and analgesics, such as paracetamol, associated with rest and fluid intake by the pregnant woman.
Prevention of rubella in pregnancy
The best form of prevention is to carry out the triple-viral vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella at least 1 month before becoming pregnant, since the vaccine is contraindicated during pregnancy. However, this vaccine can be applied during breastfeeding, as it has no effect on breast milk, preventing future contagion.See more about the triple viral vaccine.