Measles is dangerous to the health of both mothers and their unborn children. Pregnant women who contract measles are at risk for more severe complications of the illness, as well as at increased risk for preterm labor and preterm delivery, miscarriage, premature labor and low birth weight infants.

Recent measles outbreak

Despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, hard fought gains can easily be lost without sustained attention. Where individuals are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated (i.e., they missed the second dose), outbreaks occur. Multiple regions in Vietnam were hit with large measles outbreaks in 2018, imported measles resulted in 1700 reported cases— over 22-fold increase over the previous year with 2 people died in Hung Yen Province and Ho Chi Minh City.

Especially, measles outbreaks typically occur in the late winter and early spring every year and low relative humidity is a risk factor of measles morbidity. Therefore, pregnant mothers should pay attention to preventive measures to protect their health

What it is  

Measles is a very contagious respiratory infection that is spread through the air. Measles virus causes symptoms that can include fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, commonly followed by a rash that covers the whole body. Measles can lead to ear infections, diarrhea, and infection of the lungs (pneumonia). Rarely, measles can cause brain damage or death.

Parents always assume that when a rash in children is suspected to be related to measles, but this is not a case in adults. Thus, it is much easier for adults to misunderstand with typhus or viral fever, and then will buy drugs arbitrarily at the pharmacy. These not only make the disease worse but also possibly cause drug resistance.

For adults, measles will focus on women between 25 and 40 years old. Especially during pregnancy, if left vaccinated with a weakened immune system, the measles virus can be transferred directly to her fetus. For non-antibiotic cases, the incidence of measles will be very high, up to more than 90%.

Who is most at risk?

Most of the people who got measles were not vaccinated.

At highest risk during a measles outbreak is:

  • infants who aren't old enough to get the vaccine
  • pregnant women
  • people with poor nutrition or weakened immune systems

Doctors can give an injection of measles antibodies (called immune globulin) to at-risk people who are exposed to measles. It's most effective when given within 6 days of contact. These antibodies can either prevent measles or make symptoms less severe. The measles vaccine may help protect women who are not pregnant and people not in an at-risk group if they get it within 72 hours of measles exposure.

According to Dr. Quach Van, Obstetrician at City International Hospital, Measles is dangerous to the health of both mothers and their unborn children. During pregnancy in women who are not vaccinated, its complications can be resulted in miscarriage, stillbirths or preterm labor. In addition, encephalitis, acute diarrhea, blindness, etc. are dangerous complications in adults after measles. Hereby, The best way to protect your baby and yourself  is to make sure they're immunized against measles at least 03 months before becoming pregnant with such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR vaccine) "

 Dr. Quach Van, Obstetrician at City International Hospital (CIH)


No specific antiviral treatment exists for measles virus. Doctors can help patients avoid the more severe complications (blindness, pneumonia) by making sure patients have good nutrition and enough fluids.


Regular prenatal check-up 

If you don't know whether you've had measles or been vaccinated against it, get a blood test (preferably before trying to conceive) to find out for sure.  Getting the measles vaccine at least three month before becoming pregnant is highly recommended.

Routine measles vaccination 

If you're not immune, and are exposed to the virus while pregnant, you should talk to your practitioner about getting an immune globulin shot to try to prevent the development of measles altogether. Don't worry about letting any of your other children be vaccinated against measles during your pregnancy; this will put neither you nor your baby at risk.

To be a good healthy for mothers and babies, attending routine pregnancy check-ups and disease vaccination should not be missed because not only measles but also hepatitis B, chickenpox, influenza, etc. are equally dangerous threats that need to be vaccinated. Building awareness and discussion of this health issue is vital for yourself and your baby during pregnancy.

For appointment or more information about vaccination services provided at CIH,  click here

City International Hospital

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Ms. Võ Thị Mỹ Liên: (8428) 6280 3333, ext. 8425

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