As part of a new patient’s workup, we also check for immunity to rubella (or German measles). Like varicella, you may have been given a vaccine to prevent this disease as a child. However, only a blood test can determine if you currently have enough antibodies to prevent you from getting rubella now.
If a pregnant woman gets infected with the rubella virus, especially during the first three months of pregnancy, it can cause serious birth defects in her child such as heart abnormalities, intellectual disability, and hearing or vision loss. It can also cause a miscarriage or premature delivery.
You will have your blood drawn to check if you have full immunity to rubella. If not, your doctor recommends that you get vaccinated by your primary physician. We will provide you with a copy of your results to take with you. The vaccine for rubella is part of a 3 in 1 vaccine called MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). Unlike varicella, the MMR vaccine is only one dose. However, you still must wait for 30 days after the vaccine to become pregnant. As with varicella, if after being informed of the risks you still do not want to get the vaccine you can sign a waiver.
From 1963 to 1965, a rubella epidemic swept throughout the world. According to the CDC, in theUnited Statesalone, 11,000 babies died and 20,000 more were born with birth defects from rubella. Shortly thereafter, in 1968, the vaccine was developed. We can all be grateful that we live in a time when a simple blood test and shot can help prevent such tragedy.
Janet Chiaramonte joined the staff of Invia Fertility as a registered nurse in 2005. Years ago (too many to count), she received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and then worked for a decade at Children's Memorial Hospital in an administrative position. She always wanted to be part of the patient care side of medicine though, so she went back to school and received an Associate's Degree in Nursing.