Importance of Immunization/Vaccination in Pregnancy By Dr Anu Vij, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar

Dr. Anu

Are you pregnant? Do you have a plan in place regarding your vaccination? No? Here we tell you about the important vaccines that you must not miss. Read on to know more about this…

Vaccination can be termed as a shot that contains a vaccine. Did you know? A vaccine can be called as a medicine that helps protect you from various diseases. During pregnancy, vaccinations help protect both you and your baby. Make sure your vaccinations are current before you get pregnant. Are you aware? Vaccine-preventable infectious diseases are responsible for significant maternal, neonatal, and young infant morbidity and even mortality. It is no brainer that maternal immunization can protect the mother against vaccine-preventable infections and protect the foetus.

Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you tend to get pregnant. When you do get pregnant, consult your doctor about vaccinations that are safe to get during pregnancy. As you already know that vaccinations can help protect you from certain infections that can take a toll on you and your baby during pregnancy. Vaccinations you get during pregnancy helps keep your baby safe from infection during the first few months of life until he gets his own vaccinations. Remember not all vaccinations are safe during pregnancy. Thus, make sure any vaccination you get is safe for you and your baby.

What to do before getting vaccinated?
Before you get vaccinated, discuss with your doctor if you have any allergies or ever had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine. An allergy is a reaction to something one touches, eat, or breathe in that makes one sneeze, itch, get a rash, or have breathing problems. Hence, your doctor will be able to determine which vaccines are safe for you.

Following vaccinations are recommended during pregnancy

• You will be advised to get a flu shot if you were not vaccinated before pregnancy.
• Tdap vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. It helps protect your baby from pertussis in the first few months of life before she gets vaccinated herself. The first few months after birth are when your baby’s most at risk of getting pertussis.
• You will also be advised to get Hepatitis B Vaccine if Anti HBs antibody levels are not below 10 Miu/dl
• Omit the polio vaccine part as it is not included in the National Immunisation Program.

Which vaccines cannot be given during pregnancy?

• BCG for tuberculosis, HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (also called STI, sexually transmitted disease or STD).
• Include HPV in a group Vaccine immediately post-partum as this is being highly advocated.
• MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella). MMR and Varicella are not recommended during pregnancy and can be taken before pregnancy.
• Include the Rubella vaccine in a separate heading as Vaccine before contemplating pregnancy.

Takeaway: Plan your vaccinations only after consulting your doctor. This will allow you and your baby to lead a disease-free life.

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