Why do you need vaccination during pregnancy?
Sometimes, a woman might get pregnant without having a chance to update her immunization status. At other times, even though she received all vaccinations as part of her pre-conception care, she might require vaccination against certain illnesses she comes across during pregnancy or is at a high risk of developing them.
Either way, not being up-to-date with vaccinations and/or being prone to certain diseases increases the risk of harm to the unborn baby. It is important to discuss the urgency of a vaccination during pregnancy with the doctor or find out if it can wait till the baby is born.
Are vaccines really safe during pregnancy?
A common question many pregnant women ask is if getting vaccinated during pregnancy is safe or not. The answer is that not all vaccines can be administered during pregnancy (which is why updating immunization status during pre-pregnancy is important), but some vaccines can be safely given to a pregnant woman.
Vaccines that contain live virus are not given to pregnant women. There are some vaccines that are only administered in the second or third trimester, and others that must only be given either three months before birth or right after birth.
As per routine procedure, all vaccines (that are safe during pregnancy) are checked for safety, purity and potency. However, it is possible that some women might have an allergic reaction to a particular ingredient in the vaccine, like for example egg extract in influenza vaccine. This can be ascertained before administration.
Vaccines for Pregnant Moms
- Hepatitis B vaccine – The pregnant woman and her baby can be protected against Hepatitis B infection before and after birth. This vaccine is given to women who are at a higher risk of contracting the infection but otherwise tested negative. The vaccine is given in three doses at the intervals of 0, 1 and 6 months.
- Inactivated influenza vaccine – This vaccine protects pregnant women from contracting flu during its high season.
- Tdap vaccine (Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis) – Tdap protects the baby from acquiring diphtheria (whooping cough). It is given between week 27 and week 36 of pregnancy. It can also be administered right after birth.
- Other vaccines – There are certain vaccines that are given to pregnant women if they are high-risk candidates or if they came in contact with the disease. These include:
- Yellow fever
- Japanese encephalitis
- Small pox
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“Is It Safe to Get Vaccinations During Pregnancy?” WebMD.com, http://www.webmd.com/baby/pregnancy-is-it-safe-to-get-vaccinations
“Vaccinations during pregnancy,” MarchofDimes.com, http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/vaccinations-during-pregnancy.aspx
“Vaccination During Pregnancy,” ClevelandClinic.org, http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/pregnancy/hic_vaccination_during_pregnancy.aspx
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