Information is power so they say. When you are pregnant, you MUST arm yourself with the right information so that you and your little sunshine remain healthy during and after the 9 months journey.
An infection or illness can be frightening and more serious while you’re pregnant.
Here’s a list of some of the infections you should watch out for during pregnancy:
- Rubella (German measles)
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- HIV/ AIDS
- Urinary tract infection
- Genital herpes
I will ‘chew’ and summarize these infections for you in the subsequent posts. Today let me focus on Rubella.
What is Rubella?
Rubella, sometimes called German measles or three-day measles, is a contagious disease caused by a virus transmitted by coughs and sneezes. The infection is usually mild with fever and rash.
The most common rubella symptoms include:
- A mild temperature
- Sore, infected eyes
- Cold like symptoms such as running nose and sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes around the back of your neck
It is important to note that up to half of people don’t get any symptoms of rubella so they will not know that they’ve had it.
Although rubella is a relatively mild illness for you, it is very dangerous for your unborn baby. The risks are highest if you get rubella during your first 11 weeks of pregnancy, as it can lead to miscarriage.
According to Baby Center, rubella infection during your first three months of pregnancy may also cause your baby to develop congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). This means your little one could develop:
- Eye defects such as cataracts
- Heart defects
- Mental retardation
- Low growth
- A very small head also called microcephaly
- Liver and spleen damage (at least a 20% chance of damage to the fetus if a woman is infected early in pregnancy)
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for rubella infection! I know the question in your mind now is: what can I do to prevent rubella while I am pregnant?
If you are already pregnant and do not know if you are protected against rubella, avoid people who have had a rash for less than a week. Also, ask your doctor to test you to see if you are protected against rubella.
If you aren’t sure if you had a rubella vaccine, you should have a blood test before you get pregnant. The test will tell you if you are protected against rubella. If a blood test shows you are not protected against rubella, you should get the Measles, Mump, Rubella (MMR) combination vaccine right away the wait for at least one month before you start trying to get pregnant. Note that you cannot get this vaccine when you are pregnant because the vaccination contains a live virus, which could cause rubella infection in the baby.
According to Center for Disease Control, children should get 2 doses of Measles, Mump Rubella (MMR) combination vaccine: the first dose should be at 12-15 months of age while the second dose at 4-6 years of age. Though these are the recommended ages, children can get the second dose at any age, as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.
Watch out for the subsequent post on other diseases and infections to beware of during pregnancy. Hope you have enjoyed the read and learnt something as well.