Pregnancy glossary R - Relaxing to Rubella

Relaxin

This hormone is released by the placenta and serves to loosen ligaments and joints throughout the body. The purpose is to relax the pelvis, increasing the size of the pelvic diameters to allow passage of the baby at birth.


Rubella

Rubella, (also called German measles) is a very contagious disease caused by the rubella virus. The virus causes fever, swollen lymph nodes behind the ears, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the torso and then to the arms and legs. Rubella is no longer very common because most children are immunized. Rubella is not usually a serious disease in children, but can be very serious if a pregnant woman becomes infected. Infection with rubella in the first 3 months of pregnancy can cause serious injury to the fetus, resulting in heart damage, blindness, deafness, mental retardation, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Rubella is spread person-to-person by breathing in droplets of respiratory secretions exhaled by an infected person. It may also be spread when someone touches his or her nose or mouth after their hands have been in contact with infected secretions (such as saliva) of an infected person. A person can spread the disease from as many as 5 days before the rash appears to 5 to 7 days after.



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This article was written by Claire Halliday for Kidspot New Zealand.



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