Rubella during Pregnancy


Q: Dear Doctor,

I just received dreadful news that my childhood friend who is 15 weeks pregnant is also tested positive for Rubella (Rub-IgG 214 IU/ML, Rub-IgM 71 AU/ML). The exact time of contracting the virus is unknown. However, she recalls being terribly sick at the end of last October for about 10 days, which is around the same time she became pregnant. Before that, she had no knowledge about Rubella.

Her doctor told her that having exposed to the virus at early stages of pregnancy, there is a 30% chance that it can lead to deformity of her baby. She kept asking if there is a way to find out whether the baby is already infected with the virus. In the third world country she's in, the doctors said no. Since I live in the States, she begged me to help her find out.

Is there a way to test the baby? Is there a more precise way to analyze the risk? Please help...Your kindness will go a long way. Thank you!


A:   Hello,
Thanks for the query.
It is unfortunate that your dear friend has got an infection with rubella virus. When the pregnant lady picks up this virus at early weeks of pregnancy, it has severe repercussions on the growing fetus, leading to chances of multiple anomalies like ear defects, facial deformities, microcephaly, mental retardation and even cataracts and life-threatening heart problems.There is not much to predict the exact risk with respect to how far the baby will be affected. The best way is to do an ultrasound and look for fetal anomalies, if there are multiple anomalies picked up by scan, then termination of pregnancy is ideal.Discuss this option with your doctor, so that you know the growth and changes in the fetus. Also, rising Ig M status of the titer is indicative of an active infection.She must be treated accordingly.
Hope this helped

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