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Article
October 12, 1957

FREQUENCY OF DEFECTS IN INFANTS WHOSE MOTHERS HAD RUBELLA DURING PREGNANCY

JAMA. 1957;165(6):675-678. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980240033009
Abstract

The authors report the results of actual examination of infants born to mothers in whom rubella during pregnancy was diagnosed by a physician. Of 104 women who had rubella during the first trimester, 28 delivered normal infants. Congenital defects were found in 3 infants; there were 3 stillbirths, 1 2 other fetal deaths, 48 therapeutic abortions, and 10 cases lost from study. The incidence of congenital deformities among the live-born babies of women with rubella during the first trimester of pregnancy was 9.7%. No controls were used, so that a comparison with women who had no rubella could not be made. Rubella appears to increase the likelihood of malformations, but the high rates of incidence set by early authors are exaggerated. The recommendation of therapeutic abortion because of rubella should not become routine, but should take into account all known factors in the situation, such as the age and fertility of the mother. Until more information is obtained on relative risks, physicians owe it to their patients and to society to advise parents to expose their susceptible young daughters to rubella.

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