Vaccines During Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know about

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The important part of normal health care is vaccination and help prevent a number of diseases, such as the flu, hepatitis, and chicken pox. There are several vaccines that are recommended during pregnancy to protect both the expecting mom and her baby. But not all vaccines are safe to get during pregnancy.

A vaccine is present in three forms: live virus, dead virus, and toxoids (harmless, chemically altered proteins drawn from bacteria). Pregnant women shouldn’t get live virus vaccines, because there’s a slight chance these will harm the unborn baby. Vaccines made from dead viruses are safe.

Importance of vaccines in pregnancy

Vaccine-preventable diseases cause significant morbidity and mortality among maternal, neonatal, and young infant. Some infections are so serious even they can waste pregnancy, harm her baby during pregnancy or after delivery. These complications can be protected with vaccination. This is why vaccinations are so important for pregnant mothers.

The benefit of vaccinating pregnant women usually outweigh potential risks when the likelihood of disease exposure is high when infection would pose a risk to the mother or fetus, and when the vaccine is unlikely to cause harm. Not all vaccinations are safe during pregnancy but some of the inactivated vaccines are considered safe which can be given to pregnant women who might be at risk of infection.

Must Know Things About Vaccines During Pregnancy

vaccines during pregnancy

The vaccines which are considered safe are:

Hepatitis B: This is given to those pregnant women who are tested negative but have high risk of the disease. It helps to protect the mother and baby against infection both before and after delivery.

A series of three doses is required to have immunity. The 2nd and 3rd doses are given 1 and 6 months after the first dose.

Influenza ( Inactivated ): All women who will be pregnant (any trimester) during the flu season should be offered this vaccine.Avoid the influenza nasal spray vaccine, which is made from a live virus.

Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap): Tdap is recommended during pregnancy, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation, to protect baby from a whooping cough. Tdap should be administered immediately after the birth of your baby if it was not administered during pregnancy.

The influenza vaccine and Tdap vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from infection and can also help protect your baby after birth before he or she can be vaccinated. These are important because flu and whooping cough can be particularly dangerous for infants.

Vaccines to be avoided by pregnant women

Some vaccines can potentially be transmitted to the unborn child and may result in miscarriage, premature birth or birth defects.

Hepatitis A: Women at high risk for exposure to this virus should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctors.Since the safety of this vaccine hasn’t been determined, so it should be avoided during pregnancy.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR): Women should wait at least one month to become pregnant after receiving these live-virus vaccines. If the rubella test shows that you are not immune to rubella, then you will be given the vaccine after delivery.

Varicella: This vaccine, used to prevent chickenpox, should be given at least one month before pregnancy.

Pneumococcal: Since the safety of this vaccine is unknown, it should be avoided in pregnancy, except for women who are at high risk or have a chronic illness.

Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV): Neither the live-virus (OPV) nor the inactivated-virus (IPV) version of this vaccine is recommended for pregnant women. HPV Vaccine: To prevent the human papillomavirus virus (HPV).

Are Vaccines harmful to the unborn baby?

A number of vaccines, especially live-virus vaccines, should not be given to pregnant women, because they may be harmful to the baby. (A live-virus vaccine is made using the live strains of a virus.) Some vaccines can be given to the mother in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, while others should only be administered either at least three months before or immediately after the baby is born.

Side effects of vaccination

Side effects may occur up to three weeks after vaccination. If you experience any severe side effects, be sure to tell your doctor.

Hepatitis A:

  • Soreness and redness at injection site, headache
  • fatigue
  • severe allergic reaction in very rare cases

Hepatitis B:

  • Soreness at injection site
  • fever
  • Redness and swelling at injection site that can last up to two days
  • Low-grade fever
  • soreness and swelling at injection site

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR):

  • Non-contagious rash
  • swelling of neck glands and cheeks
  • pain and stiffness of joints one to two weeks after vaccination

Varicella:

  • Fever
  • soreness or redness at injection site
  • rash or small bumps up to three weeks after vaccination

Pneumococcal:

  • Fever
  • soreness at the injection site
  • Redness
  • discomfort at the injection site

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