Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is the danger of measles to me when pregnant?"
I am nearly 10 weeks pregnant but have not had a scan or seen a midwife yet. I work in a school and today received an email advising that a staff member's partner has been diagnosed with measles and anyone pregnant should consult their doctor. I cannot get through to my doctor so can you offer some advice please? No one at work knows I am pregnant.
Measles can be a very significant problem when you are pregnant, as it is a disease that can be severe in adults that are susceptible. If you have concerns about having been exposed, please speak with your doctor so that you can be appropriately screened and treated if necessary. We are fortunate in the United States to have a wide spread vaccination program that has helped most of the school aged children to be vaccinated. What many people don't remember is the broad and life threatening complications that occurred before vaccinations were so common, and you are now, unfortunately, having to dig into what some of those are. If you have been vaccinated yourself, then your risk of becoming infected is much lower. Depending on your exposure history (and the amount of contact that you have had with the person that is infected), your doctor may choose to do some tests to determine if you are immune to rubeola, or measles. Unlike rubella (German Measles), rubeola is not associated with birth defects, and so it is primarily for your own health and well being that you should be seen by your doctor. Obviously, your health affects that of your unborn child very much. Again, please speak with your doctor as needed.
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