Some infectious diseases can cause serious harm to pregnant women or their unborn babies. Ideally, women should be up to date with their immunisations before they become pregnant because it can protect a pregnant woman and her unborn baby from infectious diseases.
Obstetrician-gynaecologist, Dr Fiona Cowell, shares the types of vaccinations you should get when considering to conceive.
Most of us have been vaccinated as children and teenagers but for those who are thinking of pregnancy it is important to check that vaccinations are up to date. If vaccinations were missed as a child it is important to see your GP who can help you create a plan to catch up prior to pregnancy.
Varicella (chicken pox), rubella and measles immunisation status is something that your GP can check with a blood test. Even if you have been vaccinated in the past, your immunity can drop below protective levels. Catching these illnesses in pregnancy can have a big impact on both yourself and the baby.
Vaccinations during pregnancy
Whooping cough (Pertussis) can be fatal for newborn babies. Boostrix vaccination is for pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria. This vaccination is given in pregnancy after 28 weeks gestation and can provide some protection to your baby when it is born until the baby receives its own vaccinations commencing at 2 months of age. Ensuring family members and partners are vaccinated before the baby is born is another important way to reduce the risk to the baby. A vaccination within the last 5 years will still be effective.
Influenza vaccination each year is a good idea for most people but especially for those who are pregnant. Catching the flu in pregnancy can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth. Women who contract influenza in pregnancy can be sicker than those who aren’t pregnant and each year pregnant women are admitted to ICU units with influenza. A vaccine can reduce this risk.
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