Rubella: why it is dangerous in pregnancy – rubeotest

Rubella, like chicken pox and measles, is an exthematous disease that usually affects children 6 to 12 years of age, but is very dangerous if caught during pregnancy.

It is caused by the rubeovirus and generally has an uneventful course manifesting itself with swollen lymph nodes and rosaceous spots scattered all over the body. It heals in a few days.

You may wonder why a rubella vaccination campaign aimed at all girls has been underway for years, despite the fact that it is not a disease with particular complications in children.

The danger of rubella in pregnancy

The reason is simple. Rubella if caught during pregnancy can be transmitted through the placenta and then reach the fetus. The risks are greatest the earlier you get the disease during pregnancy.

If a pregnant woman contracts rubella in the first trimester she may have a miscarriage , or the fetus may develop malformations , blindness , hearing problems , heart defects or mental retardation .

They are therefore very serious consequences.

The vaccination was done at the age of 10, so many of you will have done it at that age even if in recent years it has been proposed as part of the trivalent vaccine which is offered at 15-18 months of age.

How do you know if you are immune to rubella?

If you’ve had the disease before, you’re immune. If you have been vaccinated, or you don’t know whether or not you have had the virus in question, when you decide to have a child, the rubeotest is also included  in the preconception tests .

This exam is also included among the first exams required when you are pregnant .

The rubeo-test is used to verify or not the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies against the rubella virus. In general, many women are immune to the disease (they have positive immunoglobulin G and negative IgM) either because they have contracted the virus or because they have already been vaccinated.

If you can delay pregnancy,   get vaccinated before pregnancy

If both are negative then the rubeotest should be done every month, at least until the 5th month because after this period the risk of fetal damage is low.

If IgM antibodies appear during pregnancy, more in-depth tests must be carried out in order to exclude the passage of the virus to the fetus.

How to prevent rubella if you are not immune?

If you are pregnant and you discover that you are not immune to rubella, there are some precautions to be taken to avoid contagion (which occurs through infected droplets of saliva).

These are tricks that are difficult to apply also because it is very contagious and even in children it is difficult to identify and diagnose the disease. If you then work in contact with children who could have rubella and therefore be infectious, the attention must be further increased.

What to do: wash your hands frequently, do not use the same glasses, plates and cutlery as children (not even our children, if they are not vaccinated or immunised). If you suspect that someone has rubella, absolutely avoid going near it. For example, do not visit friends with small children when you know they are ill and may have one of the rash diseases.

Contagion can occur as early as  7 days  before the rash appears and up to  8 days  after its disappearance. It is precisely those seven initial days without particular symptoms that make contagion easy.

Pregnancy after rubella vaccination?

If a woman plans to become pregnant, she will have to wait a month after the rubella vaccination and in any case does not enjoy a consultation with her general practitioner or gynecologist.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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