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Up to 70% of women who get rubella may experience arthritis; this is rare in children and men. In rare cases, rubella can cause serious problems, including brain infections and bleeding problems.

The most serious complication from rubella infection is the harm it can cause a pregnant woman’s developing baby. If an unvaccinated pregnant woman gets infected with rubella virus she can have a miscarriage, or her baby can die just after birth. Also, she can pass the virus to her developing baby who can develop serious birth defects such as—

  • heart problems,
  • loss of hearing and eyesight,
  • intellectual disability, and
  • liver or spleen damage.

Serious birth defects are more common if a woman is infected early in her pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. These severe birth defects are known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

See Pregnancy and Rubella page to learn more.