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Here’s What Could Happen If You Get Measles While Pregnant

By Cari Nierenberg, Live Science Contributor | May 16, 2019

Here’s What Could Happen If You Get Measles While Pregnant
Credit: Shutterstock

The measles can be dangerous for people of all ages, but the highly contagious virus poses a particular threat to pregnant women.

That threat was clearly illustrated in a recent case report, which detailed the case of a 27-year-old woman in England — who had not been vaccinated — who got measles during her third trimester and ended up needing an emergency cesarean section to save her baby.

When the woman was initially hospitalized, it wasn’t clear that she had measles, according to the case report, published May 9 in the journal BMJ Case Reports. In fact, it took doctors nearly 2 weeks to make the proper diagnosis. [27 Devastating Infectious Diseases]Advertisement

Within a day of being hospitalized, the woman began having severe breathing problems.

Problems that arise from any respiratory infection are more severe in pregnant women, because the immune system is in a naturally suppressed state, said lead case report author Dr. Jassimran Bansal, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at King’s College Hospital in London. But the woman’s breathing problems didn’t improve; they worsened over the next five days, and her lungs showed signs of severe respiratory failure.

Because both the woman and her baby’s health were at risk from her illness, the woman’s doctors recommended she have an emergency C-section, where she delivered a healthy, but premature baby.

Measles during pregnancy

Measles can be difficult to diagnose during pregnancy, because the infection’s telltale rash is often absent, said Bansal, who was involved with the woman’s treatment. It’s not clear why the characteristic rash — which shows up as distinctive large red spots that typically spread from the face to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet— may be absent, but it’s likely due to changes in the immune system that occur during pregnancy, she said.

In fact, the woman did have a mild rash when she went to the hospital during her 32nd week of pregnancy. She told doctors that she also had a sore throat and fever. The rash, which was itchy with red bumps, had first appeared on the palms of her hands and then spread to her face, according to the report. But simply having a rash doesn’t mean a person has the measles; other viruses can also cause rashes, Bansal said.

When the woman was admitted to the hospital, doctors initially suspected she may have had a nonspecific viral respiratory infection, like the flu, Bansal told Live Science. Measles was lower down on the list of possible diagnoses, because the woman didn’t have the typical rash, and because measles in pregnancy is still very rarein England, she noted.

As her illness worsened, however, doctors noted that her rash did spread to her chest, back and stomach, a pattern that is more typical of measles, according to the report.

Making the diagnosis

As the woman recovered from both her C-section and the illness, test results suggested that her breathing problems were due to pneumonia caused by a parainfluenza virus, a type of virus linked to respiratory infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Throat cultures from people with measles will also test positive for parainfluenza virus, according to the report.)

But it wasn’t until a week after the baby was born — when the woman’s husband came down with measles — that the doctors decided to test her for the infection, too.

Indeed, the woman had also had the measles, the tests revealed. But luckily, her baby did not. (Babies can develop “congenital measles,” a form of the disease that can be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy and appears shortly after birth.) [7 Ways Pregnant Women Affect Babies]

After spending three weeks in the hospital, the woman was sent home. Both mother and baby are doing fine, Bansal said, adding that the woman’s two other children had, in fact, received the MMR vaccine before their parents had come down with the measles.

Pregnant women who have not received the MMR vaccine, as was the case with this woman, are at increased risk of severe illness and complications of measles, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The group also notes that getting the measles during pregnancy is linked with an increased risk of hospitalization and pneumonia, as well as an increased risk of giving birth prematurely, miscarriage or having a low-birth-weight baby.

Posted in Births, Health, International, Local, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments


Rare natural triplets delivered in Anguilla

The Anguillan

L-R-Nurse-Christmas,-Dr-Brett-Hodge-and-Eudlyn-Brooks---DSC_5789-300x225While we were recording a viewing of a triplet in Antigua, ‘The Anguillan’ newspaper was publishing the following, a new ‘triplet story’

Wednesday, August 7, 2013, has been recorded in Anguilla as the first time that triplets were born on the island within the last twenty years – the others having been born overseas.

The three girls appear to be identical, according to Anguillian Physician and Obstetrician, Dr Brett Hodge, who managed and delivered them. The proud parents are Eudlyn Brooks, 32, and her partner, Craig Gumbs, 39, of North Side.The babies were delivered by caesarean section at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

“You can say that the babies are natural triplets,” Dr Hodge told The Anguillian. “It is a very rare event and we were able to manage them to a successful outcome. The main complication was premature labour. The mother and babies are doing quite well.The mother and her children should leave the Princess Alexandra Hospital by Wednesday, August 14.”

Dr Hodge spoke further about the babies as follows:
“They were born on the 7th of August. The first baby (K’lyn V.Gumbs) was delivered at 3.21 am. Her weight was 4 pounds 14 ounces or 2.25 kilograms. Baby two (Ky’licia G. Gumbs) was delivered at 3.25 am. Her weight was 4 pounds 7 ounces or 2.02 kilograms; and the third baby (Ky’li C.Gumbs) was delivered at 3.26 am. Her birth weight was 4 pounds 5 ounces or 1.95 kilograms. They all came out in good conditions.”

Responding to further questions, Dr Hodge continued: “We were expecting twins but were surprised that they were triplets. Natural triplets, as I said, are very rare, but some cases of triplets are now associated with the use of medications to induce ovulation. In this case, however, we did not use any medications.”

Dr Hodge expressed thanks to the staff of the hospital, especially Nurse Chris Smith-Lake, and the theatre staff, particularly Dawn Gumbs, and the Paediatrician, Dr. Singh. He was happy that the triplets were successfully managed and delivered in Anguilla, and that this was a further indication of the improved medical and health services on the island despite limited resources.
Dr Hodge has been a practising Obstetrician in Anguilla for some 22 years. He studied medicine at the University of the West Indies and did his post graduate training in the United Kingdom. He has managed and delivered scores of babies in Anguilla. Among the children he managed were triplet girls at Rey Hill but who were delivered in the U S A.

Ms Brooks, the babies’ mother, who already has a six-year-old son, is employed at Malliouhana Insurance Company where she serves as a Policy Services Underwriter. She has expressed gratitude to Hodge Medical Services as well as to her mother, Patricia Brooks, who has always been there for her and who, along with others, will give her plenty of help in caring for the triplets. “I am excited and afraid because it is three of them, but I will have a lot of help so I will be okay,” she chuckled.Eudlyn’s father is the well-known Wycliffe Richardson, owner of Anguilla Television Channel 3.







Posted in Births, News, Regional2 Comments

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