Expecting mothers need the protection that comes from vaccines just like everyone else, maybe even more so, but certain types aren’t recommended during pregnancy.
There are three types of vaccines: those made from a live virus, a dead virus or toxoids. Pregnant women can safely receive dead virus and toxoid vaccines, but there is a chance that live virus vaccines can harm the fetus.
These Two Vaccines Help Protect You and Your Baby
While you’re pregnant, your doctor will recommend that you receive two vaccines: the flu shot and the tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis shot, otherwise known as Tdap.
Women who are pregnant between November and March can benefit from the flu shot because it’s made of a dead virus and it will help them avoid sickness. Pregnant women who contract the flu typically have worse symptoms than others. Complications like pneumonia are also more likely.
The Tdap vaccine guidelines were updated in 2013 in response to an uptick in pertussis (whooping cough) in the U.S. If it’s been more than 10 years since you received a tetanus/diphtheria (Td) shot, you should receive the Tdap vaccine. It’s made of toxoids, so it’s safe for pregnant women. Doctors recommend receiving it between 27 and 36 weeks.
Talk to Your Doctor About Additional Vaccines
If you fall into a special risk category, you may need other vaccines during pregnancy as well. For example, if you work in health care or you have diabetes, you are at an increased risk of developing hepatitis. Your doctor may recommend that you receive the hepatitis B or hepatitis A vaccine.
Are You Planning to Get Pregnant?
If you’re planning to get pregnant soon, it’s a good time to make sure you are fully vaccinated. Get the vaccines you need at least one month before pregnancy to protect your body without any risk of harm to your baby. Your doctor can test your blood to see if you’re immune to certain diseases, such as rubella, and if necessary, administer the vaccines.
You may have received the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine as a child, but if you didn’t, this shot is necessary now. Also, consider getting the chickenpox vaccine to help avoid contracting this during pregnancy, which can be harmful to the fetus.
Can You Get Vaccinated While Breastfeeding?
Once your baby is born, you can be vaccinated on a normal schedule. It does not interfere with breastfeeding. If you were unable to receive certain vaccinations during pregnancy, now is the time.
Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center is your resource for accurate, effective vaccine information. Contact us today to make sure you’re fully protected from disease before, during or after your pregnancy.
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