FREE Pregnancy

Request A Callback

Fill in your details and our team will get back to you shortly.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Request A Callback

Rubella And Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

February 13, 2023

Many women desire to be pregnant at some point in their lives, as it can bring immense joy and fulfilment. Carrying a child and giving birth to a new life is a profound experience filled with excitement, hope and love.

While pregnant, there are a number of risks and issues that could arise, including the possibility of contracting various potentially fatal illnesses. It is crucial to be aware of these risks and issues. These infections that happen during pregnancy can be severe and pose a risk to the mother as well as the growing fetus. It can lead to miscarriage, birth defects or preterm labour rubella infection poses risk to the growing foetus, and it can also be life-threatening to the mother. One such infection is the rubella infection. Read on to learn more about rubella pregnancy infection.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Jnanashree Deepak for Pregnancy & gynecology related issues

What is Rubella?

Rubella, also known as German measles, is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the rubella virus. It is a highly contagious disease that transmits through saliva or mucus. This infection can happen to anyone, but rubella in pregnancy is dangerous to the woman and her unborn babies. A rubella pregnancy infection that is passed to the baby is called Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) it is dangerous to the baby. CRS is a condition found in babies whose mother shave had rubella infections. Pregnant women who have rubella are at risk of still birth, miscarriage or having babies with life-threatening complications. It can have an impact on a baby's entire body and cause complications that last a lifetime.

How is Rubella Transmitted?

This infection is highly contagious and can be transmitted through the mucus or saliva of the infected person. It is an airborne infection that spreads through sneeze or cough droplets. It can also spread through contaminated objects, sharing food or drinks, handshakes, etc. A pregnant woman who is infected with rubella transfers it to the fetus through her bloodstream.

Why Are Pregnant Women More Prone to this Infection?

Pregnancy affects every part of a woman’s body. Immune function and hormone levels are altered, making them susceptible to such infections. During pregnancy, there are changes in the immune system so that it offers protection to both the mother and the baby. Despite all the preventive mechanisms, pregnant women are more prone to certain infections like rubella. Therefore, it is essential for pregnant women to practice preventative measures, be knowledgeable about the symptoms and signs of rubella, and make sure they are current on their vaccinations before getting pregnant. Taking the rubella vaccine in pregnancy is not recommended. This is because the vaccine contains a weaker (or attenuated) version of the disease-causing germ, and so it must be done in advance.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Rubella in Pregnancy?

Rubella shows flu-like symptoms and is usually mild, followed by a light red or pink rash. The rash lasts for about 3 days, starts on the face, and spreads to other parts of the body. The symptoms of rubella pregnancy infection include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • General discomfort
  • Pink eye
  • Headache
  • Rash on the face that later spreads to the body
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Swollen glands behind the ears or in the neck.

It is said that 70% of the women who get this infection develop arthritis in the knees, wrists and fingers. This is rarely found in men and children. Some people have no symptoms, so they may not know they are infected and pass it on to others.

Risks of Rubella in Pregnancy

Although this is a mild disease, rubella is catastrophic if contracted during pregnancy. The severity of the disease is determined by when it is contracted, with higher risks associated with infection during the first trimester

The complications include:

As stated earlier, a rubella vaccine in pregnancy is not a safe option as it contains a live, albeit weakened, form of the rubella virus. Hence, the only way to avoid the complications associated with Rubella is to ensure that the pregnant woman is vaccinated prior to pregnancy and avoids any sort of exposure to people infected with this disease. Remember, even if the condition is mild, it can have an impact on the developing child in pregnant women.

How is Rubella Treated?

As of now, there is no cure for rubella. The basic course of action against this disease is to get vaccinated. However, a rubella vaccine in pregnancy is not recommended. For infected adults, since the symptoms are mild, the infection passes in a few days. Adult treatment focuses on providing comfort and reducing symptoms. This may include some medications to manage pain, rest, and fluids.

As far as treatment for babies exposed to rubella in pregnancy is concerned, there is none. It can lead to complications that typically last their entire lives.

How to Prevent Rubella in Pregnancy?

The best way to prevent a rubella pregnancy infection is by taking the vaccine before getting pregnant. The MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine is given during childhood. If you have not gotten it, you can take the vaccine a month before you get pregnant. It is important to note that you should not take the rubella vaccine in pregnancy as it is a live attenuated virus. During the first trimester, many healthcare providers will perform a rubella IgG positive pregnancy test.

As there are many complications caused by rubella, screen for the virus before planning a pregnancy. A positive rubella IgG positive test in pregnancy confirms no need for a vaccine shot. A negative rubella IgG test in pregnancy means that you should be careful as you could get infected.

Possibility of Passing on Rubella to the Baby

The risk of contraction of rubella by babies from their mothers is highest in the first trimester. If the infection happens within 13 to 16 weeks, then the fetal infection risk reduces to 50%. If it happens toward the end of the pregnancy, there is a 25% chance of infection.

When Should I Get the Vaccine?

Healthcare professionals recommend taking the MMR vaccine during the childhood vaccination schedule. Two doses are recommended, and these last a lifetime. There are some cases where there is a recommendation for the third dose. A rubella IgG positive test in pregnancy shows whether there is immunity to this disease. It is best not to become pregnant for at least a month after receiving this vaccination. Get the rubella screening done before so that you get a rubella IgG positive test result, thereby preventing complications for the baby.

Must Read : Is it Safe to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding?


Rubella may be an infection that causes mild illness in adult women, but it can have severe complications in pregnancy. It leads to developmental issues in a fetus. While you cannot take the rubella vaccine in pregnancy, a vaccine taken beforehand is the most effective way to prevent it. Check the status of your MMR vaccine before becoming pregnant, and get one to protect yourself and the baby. Also, make sure to undergo a rubella test during pregnancy if there is a chance of exposure to other infected people.


Is Rubella IgG positive good or bad in pregnancy?

It is advisable to take a rubella test in pregnancy. A positive IgG Rubella test result in pregnancy means that you have antibodies in the blood that can fight the infection, and consequently, you are immune to future infections. So having a positive IgG test result in pregnancy is good news.

Want to consult the best gynecologists in India? Please find the links below.

  1. Best Gynecologists in Bangalore
  2. Top Gynecologists in Chennai
  3. Top Obstetricians & Gynecologists in Mumbai
  4. Top Gynecologists near me in Pune
  5. Best Obstetricians & Gynecologists in Chandigarh
  6. Top Obstetricians & Gynecologists near me in Gurgaon
  7. Best Gynecologists near me in Noida
  8. Top Gynecologist near me in Panchkula
  9. Top Gynecologist In Delhi
  10. Top Gynecologists in Faridabad

Want to consult the best Maternity Packages in India? Please find the links below.

  1. Best Maternity Packages in Bangalore
  2. Top Maternity Packages in Chennai
  3. Best Maternity Packages with Cost in Mumbai
  4. Best Maternity/ Delivery Packages with Charges in Pune
  5. Top Maternity Packages with Cost in Chandigarh
  6. Top Maternity/ Delivery packages with Charges in Gurgaon
  7. Best Pregnancy Packages in Noida
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.