Rubella and pregnancy: what is the danger?
Despite the fact that rubella is a so-called childhood infection and children up to 8–9 years old are susceptible to it, adults also suffer from the disease. They, unlike children, the disease is much more severe, its symptoms are more pronounced, and most importantly, it can give serious complications to the brain, internal organs, joints, blood system.
Rubella is very dangerous for women who are waiting for a child.
What is dangerous for pregnant rubella
Rubella virus, multiplying in the body, enters the bloodstream and spreads through the blood to all organs. In pregnant women, the virus easily passes through the placental vessels, settling in the cells of the fetus.
The result of such a virus attack turns out to be destructive: the virus either destroys cells, or prevents their normal division, and the organ stops developing.
The earlier an infection has occurred, the harder its consequences.
The disease is very dangerous in early pregnancy.
In the first weeks, when the beginnings of all organs are laid, rubella often causes miscarriage, causes missed abortion. During the second trimester, it gives various congenital malformations and anomalies, the child can be born with congenital rubella.
How big is the risk that the fetus will be affected? This is determined by the time when the infection occurred: the maximum risks – up to 90% – exist in the first weeks, by the end of the first trimester they decrease and make up about 50%. By the third trimester, the risk that the baby will be born with severe anomalies decreases even more, but nonetheless still exists.
What is congenital rubella?
As a result of intrauterine infection, various anomalies and defects are formed in the child. The three classic signs of congenital rubella include:
abnormalities of the organ of vision – cataract, as well as glaucoma and microphthalmia (small size of the eyeball);
congenital heart defects.
The virus can also affect the nervous system, which is manifested by hydrocephalus (fluid accumulation in the brain), microcephaly (decrease in the size of the skull), chronic meningoencephalitis, paralysis, mental retardation.
Malformations in children do not appear immediately after birth
Other developmental defects may also manifest themselves – the skeletal, digestive, and urogenital systems.
Part of the anomalies is manifested with the growth of the child (for example, mental retardation), part – just does not appear immediately (deafness).
A child with congenital jaundice is contagious for a year – one and a half years after birth.
Who is at risk
Usually, those who have had rubella have acquired lifelong immunity to it. If a woman had this childhood infection, then she can not worry – she is protected.
Immunity after vaccination is less resistant: it can last an average of 10-15 years. It is for the prevention of rubella in pregnant women that vaccination of adolescent girls and young women who have not had rubella before have been provided.
In the zone of greatest risk, those women who did not suffer from rubella and who were not vaccinated or vaccinated, but only in childhood (or they simply do not know whether they had suffered rubella).
No vaccinations during pregnancy.
The fact is that this infection is easily transmitted from a sick person and the virus can be picked up simply by being in the same room with an infected person.
The insidiousness of rubella in the fact that the patient becomes a carrier of the virus when he has not yet manifested a characteristic sign of the disease – a rash. And for some, the disease proceeds without any symptoms.
Rubella prevention at the planning stage of pregnancy
In order to protect themselves against infection, women at risk need to be examined before pregnancy, at the preparatory stage for it, to find out if they are immune to rubella. This can be done by donating blood for rubella antibodies.
If the study confirms that there is no antibody for this infection in the blood, the next step will be vaccination.
Remember: you can get pregnant after vaccination in three months, and before that you should be protected.
Pregnant rubella vaccination is prohibited.
Rubella prevention during pregnancy
Women who are waiting for a child who has not been vaccinated and are not sure that they have had rubella at a child’s age, some rules must be followed.
It is better not to visit a crowded place during pregnancy.
Do not visit places where many people gather, especially when children are present: mass celebrations, holidays, street processions, sports events, etc.
If work is related to children or infectious patients (hospital, nursery, kindergarten, school), it is advisable to change it during pregnancy or at least minimize contacting (transfer to “paper” work).
In families where there are preschoolers or elementary school children, in institutions, especially in the clinic, it is desirable that they be led by their father, grandmother or other relatives.
Suspicion of infection
In such a case, blood must be donated to determine if the virus and antibodies are present in it.