If you are planning a baby, it is a must to find out if you are immune to German measles or not before you get pregnant. Read on to learn more about rubella antibody screening.
It is necessary to find out if a woman is immune to German measles or not if she is planning to have a baby. Contracting German measles during pregnancy can be very risky. Let us find out why is it important to be immune to German measles before getting pregnant and common concerns of women related to German measles and pregnancy.
Why is it important to be immune to German measles?
German measles or rubella is a mild illness in terms of its symptoms. However, it can be dangerous for a pregnant woman because the Rubella virus could cause severe abnormalities in the baby. There could be nothing worse for you than succeeding in becoming pregnant, catching German measles in the first 4 months of that pregnancy and then having to consider having an abortion. You should eliminate this possibility right at the beginning by screening for the virus.
I have had German measles before, so I must be immune
Do not be complacent if you have had German measles before or if you have been vaccinated in school. This does not necessarily mean that you are out of danger. There are other virus infections that can mimic Rubella clinically, and 5% of Rubella vaccinations fail to give immunity.
How can I ensure immunity against Rubella?
First, you need to test whether you are immune to Rubella. This is a simple procedure merely requiring you to send a blood sample to the laboratory. Then, if the test results indicate that you are not immune, you must be made immune. All you have to do is ask your family doctor to give you a vaccination. Remember that this vaccination should be given only during a normal period when there is no question of you being pregnant.
Do I have to wait before trying to get pregnant?
It is necessary to use contraceptives like condoms or spermicide pessaries for at least 2 and 1/2 months after the vaccination. Six to eight weeks after the vaccination, a repeat antibody screening test is carried out to check on your response to the vaccine.
What are the risks associated with getting German measles during pregnancy?
Contracting German measles during the first four months of pregnancy can be extremely dangerous. If an expecting mother gets affected with rubella, she may cope with the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. The unborn child may be exposed to the risk of being born with various birth defects as well as developmental problems. It can cause harm to the every aspect of foetusâ€™s growth and development. The problems that are observed in the babies born with this virus are known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). Here is the list of birth defects that can be observed in babies coping with CSR.
Poor birth weight
Development of rashes on skin at the time of birth
Abnormalities in heart
Development of cataracts
Damage to liver
Damage to spleen
Other rare complications like damage to brain, hormone related problems like thyroid or other problems, glaucoma, inflammation in the lungs etc; may also be observed in babies coping with CSR.
Getting affected with German measles during pregnancy can cause irreversible damage to the baby. Therefore, it is extremely important for women to get rubella antibody screening done before getting pregnant. In case if a woman is not immune to rubella, she must get vaccinated before getting pregnant and on getting vaccinated should keep a gap of at least 2 and 1/2 months before getting pregnant.
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- The Indiaparenting Team