Rubella also known as German measles is a type of viral disease that is marked by the outburst of a rash that normally begins from the face and then gradually spreads to the other parts of the body. This disease is normally associated with children. This is because most who adults have suffered from the disease as an infant then developed strong immunity against it in other stages of their life. Adults who have not suffered from the infection before and have not immunized themselves can also contact the disease.
Rubella is a contagious infection. It is caused by a virus known as rubivirus which is present in a large number in the discharge from the nose and the throat. It is through this discharge that the infection is spread. The vaccine for the infection has been developed. One thing about German measles is that it is mild, harmless and can disappear on its own after a week or thereabout from the time it has been contacted. But this is only the case in adults. It can be very dangerous to fetus in the woman if it is contacted by a pregnant woman especially during the first trimester of her pregnancy. It can cause terrible birth defects such as cerebral palsy.
Rubella can be transferred to the embryo by the pregnant woman if she contacts the infection during the first three weeks of pregnancy. The infection is transferred to the embryo through the placenta. It can cause great damage or terrible congenial disease to the embryo normally referred to as congenital rubella syndrome.
Statistics have shown that rubella is the cause of birth defect like cerebral palsy in 25% of babies whose mothers contacted the infection during first three weeks of their pregnancy. The virus that causes this infection can also cause brain damage in the embryo if a pregnant woman contacts the infection during the first trimester of pregnancy. Brain damage is the major cause of cerebral palsy.
The danger of giving birth to baby that is affected by cerebral palsy is high if the rubella is contacted during the first trimester but this does not mean that the baby is safe if the infection is contacted by the mother during the second and the third trimesters of pregnancy. The second trimester of pregnancy runs from the 14th to 26th week of pregnancy. During the 14th and 15th week of pregnancy, rubella can still cause havoc on the baby but the risk is not as high as in the first trimester. The risk becomes very low as from the 16th week. However, the fact that there is the risk of giving birth to a cerebral palsy affected baby if you contact rubella during pregnancy no matter how low the risk is calls for caution.
The best line of action to take is to avoid such infection by taking vaccination on time. If have contact with an infected person when you are pregnant and you have not taken the vaccination it is necessary that you meet with your doctor immediately so that medical attention will be given to you.