Rubella Vaccine: Should You Wait Before Trying to Conceive?

I recently received the rubella vaccine because blood tests showed I was not immune. My care provider said that I have to wait three months to get pregnant. I have read other reports saying there is really no danger in getting pregnant right away. Are there actually risks if I do conceive before the three months is up?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

The old recommendation was to wait three months after getting the rubella vaccine before trying to conceive. As of November 2002, care providers have been advised that it is safe for women to receive their rubella vaccination up to one month before becoming pregnant.

If the vaccine is inadvertently given early in pregnancy, the risk to the fetus is very low and is not reason enough to terminate the pregnancy, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Rubella, also known as German measles, is an infectious viral disease. If it is acquired during pregnancy, it can cause blindness, heart defects, deafness and other birth defects in the newborn.

The risk depends on the stage of pregnancy at the time the woman is infected. If infection occurs during the first month of pregnancy, the fetus has a 50 percent chance of being affected. The risk drops to 10 percent by the third month.

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