​Rubella (German Measles) and Pregnancy

  • Rubella is a virus which will produce a mild illness in the pregnant mother but could produce severe problems in the developing baby, also referred to as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).
  • The unborn child is most at risk of developing CRS if a pregnant woman is infected with the virus in the first three months of pregnancy.
  • It is very rare for problems to result if infected after the 20th week of conception.
  • Infants with CRS may be born deaf or blind, have damage to their hearts, or mental disabilities.
  • CRS is rare in Ontario. Fourteen cases of CRS were reported to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care from 1990-2004, which is about one per year.
  • Rubella is not very common as 95% of children have now been immunized as part of their routine immunization schedule


  • Before becoming pregnant, check your immunity to rubella (there is a vaccine – MMR – that protects an individual from rubella)
  • If you are not immune, have the MMR vaccine and wait three months before becoming pregnant
  • If you have been exposed to rubella in pregnancy and do not know your immunity, contact your doctor immediately