Pregnancy is a very crucial phase in a woman’s life. The pregnant lady and the unborn child, both need to be protected from diseases. One of the great ways to protect both the mother and the baby from various illnesses is to take vaccines during pregnancy. Know the vaccines to be taken during pregnancy to help keep both the mother and child safe.
Importance of Vaccination During Pregnancy
Know some of the major reasons why a pregnant woman should be vaccinated during her pregnancy. The vaccinations given to a pregnant woman play a vital role in not only protecting her health, but also her baby’s. If the mother has a strong immunity, it helps create your baby’s first line of defense against severe diseases and illnesses. Moreover, your immune system becomes weak during your pregnancy as it supports the growing fetus inside your womb. This increases the risk of her catching an infection. Vaccines to be taken during pregnancy help to protect the health in this way.
Some diseases like whooping cough can be quite dangerous for a newborn. However, being vaccine-preventable, taking its vaccine during pregnancy eliminates the fear of the young one getting the disease. If you plan to travel outside the U.S. during pregnancy, the vaccines to be taken during pregnancy with help you stay healthy and infection-free during your trip.
Vaccines to be Taken During Pregnancy
Here are some of the main vaccines to be taken during pregnancy.
The Flu or Influenza Vaccine
This is one of the common vaccines to be taken during pregnancy. This vaccine is quite helpful in preventing the commonest viral infection flu. Such strains are unpleasant and quite serious, even deadly, for the infant and the pregnant woman with lowered immunity.
The CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends this vaccine for all pregnant women; especially if she is pregnant during the flu and cold season. This would be between the months of October to May. However, a pregnant woman should avoid the use of nasal spray as live flu viruses are present in it.
Pregnant women who have been vaccinated just a year before their pregnancy should still get a shot of the vaccine during pregnancy. The body’s immunity fades with time and since shots are reformulated annually, the newer one might include strains which were not incorporated earlier.
Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine
An infection caused by bacteria, tetanus enters the human body when there is a break in the skin. The toxin in such bacteria causes seizures, muscle spasms and other nervous-system symptoms in the body. On the other hand, the bacteria of diphtheria and pertussis which are together known as whooping cough, spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs and can cause major respiratory issues. The vaccine which provides protection against all these is known as Tdap and is an adult vaccine. This is one of the most important vaccines to be taken during pregnancy.
This shot is best taken between 27 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, preferably before the mother reaches the 30th week. You may also get the vaccine earlier if you are at a risk of whooping cough or get a deep cut in the skin while still being due for a booster. When the Tdap vaccine is injected in your body during pregnancy, you automatically pass on some of the immunity to the newborn thereby protecting the unborn baby. The reason why this vaccine is so important is that it is highly contagious for infants as their immune system is not yet fully developed.
Pregnant women who are at increased risk of developing hepatitis B infection are usually advised this vaccine. Amongst the several vaccines to be taken during pregnancy, this vaccine helps to protect both the infant and the mother before the delivery and also after it. In order to achieve immunity, you will require 3 doses. The 2nd dose is given 1 month after the 1st dose while the 3rd dose is given 6 months after the 1st dose.
Vaccines to be Avoided During Pregnancy
Just as there are important vaccines to be taken during pregnancy, there are some vaccines that must be avoided during pregnancy. There are some which might get transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy and result in premature birth, birth defects or even miscarriage. Some vaccines which you must avoid during your pregnancy are Hepatitis A, Measles, Mumps and Rubella which are together known as MMR, Varicella and Pneumococcal. OPV or Oral Polio Vaccine and IPV Inactivated Polio Vaccine are also strictly not recommended for pregnant women.
Side Effects of Vaccines Taken During Pregnancy
In most cases, the side effects of the vaccines to be taken during pregnancy show up to 20 days after the vaccination. When you take the Hepatitis B vaccination during pregnancy it can cause soreness at the site of the injection accompanied by slight fever. The Tdap Vaccine causes mild fever along with swelling and soreness at the site of the injection. Consult your doctor if in case you experience and obvious symptoms of reaction, any untoward complaints or discomfort of any kind.
Safety of Vaccines to Be Taken During Pregnancy
To ensure that vaccines taken during pregnancy are safe for use, certain practices are followed. Live-virus vaccines are not administered to pregnant women as it might prove harmful for the unborn baby. A live-virus vaccine is one where live strains of the virus are used to make it. Some vaccines are specifically given only in the second or third trimester of pregnancy while some are given 3 months before delivery. In some cases, the vaccine may also be given right after the baby is born.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directly supervises and tests the safety of all vaccines used in the United States. The purity, safety and potency of each of the vaccines are checked while the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA both monitor its safety while it is in use.
However, it is very important to talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated during pregnancy as you might be allergic to a specific ingredient in the vaccine and might have to avoid using it. For example many women are allergic to eggs which are present in the influenza vaccine and therefore should restrain from using the same.
The vaccines to be taken during pregnancy are absolutely essential for every pregnant woman and for a safe pregnancy; it is best taken at the time recommended by your doctor. If you have a health risk or wish to know about some vaccines, you can discuss with your physician. If appropriate, your physician will recommend it in your list of vaccines to be taken during pregnancy. Also, make sure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine before taking it or else it might give rise to complications later on.
Staying healthy and free from infections is of utmost importance during your pregnancy to be able to give birth to a healthy baby during delivery.