Vaccinating a pregnant woman does not expose her fetus to any kind of risk. It is a myth that vaccination during pregnancy will harm your child. However, live bacterial vaccines are generally not advised during pregnancy. This is because of the fact that the bacteria, upon entering the body of a pregnant woman, can trigger the immunity. This might affect the fetus in a very harmful way.
However, the benefits of vaccinations, during pregnancy, outweigh the risks and the negativities. There are safe vaccines which can be used to protect you and your child from any sort of danger. Doctors recommend various vaccines which are required for a woman whilst she is pregnant.
Why vaccines are necessary?
The vaccines you take during pregnancy do not only protect your health but also at the same is likely to protect your baby. Strengthening your immunity is the first step of ensuring that your child enjoys a good defense from all the diseases. So, if you are pregnant then consult with your doctors to check on the vaccines you need to have.
However, all vaccines are not good for you. There are mainly three types of vaccines
- live virus vaccines,
- dead virus vaccines
- toxoids which are nothing but chemically altered proteins fetched from bacteria.
A pregnant woman must not take a live virus vaccine. This kind of vaccines directly cause harm to the child. Live virus vaccines trigger fever in a pregnant woman and this fever can damage your baby’s brain and make him/her autistic. That is why, it is important that you choose vaccines which do not trigger such reaction in a pregnant woman. For that reason, doctors prescribe flu vaccines which contain the dead virus and toxoids for a pregnant woman. Below is the list of vaccines which you can safely take during your pregnancies:
Must Have Vaccines During Pregnancy
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the CDC, all pregnant women should take flu shots. This vaccine needs to be taken during the flu season which is from November to March. The flu shot vaccine is made from dead virus. For that reason it is safe to be taken during pregnancy. However, FluMist should be avoided. This is a nasal-spray form of vaccination, which is made from live virus.
It is better to take the flu shot before the flu season starts. The ideal time is between October and November. Also since the flu strain tends to change each year, the vaccine also gets changed. Pregnant woman, who catches the odd flu, during the second trimester of the pregnancy, is more likely to face complications during the entire process. Severe diseases like pneumonia can take place. Even a moderate level of flu can cause fever and headaches. This is harmful for the baby and also is likely to make you weak and fatigued. The coughing continues for days and it will damage your appetite.
That is why you must contact your doctor and discuss about the best time to get a flu vaccine, whilst you are pregnant.
Tetanus/Diptheria/Pertussis Shot (Tdap) :
The increase in the risk of whooping cough is alarming. That is why, taking this vaccine would not only protect you from that fatal disease but also the same time it might affect your child in a severe manner. During pregnancy you must take a Tdap vaccine including the pertussis or the whooping cough vaccine. This vaccine can be taken during any time of the pregnancy. However, the preferred time is between the 27th to the 36th week of conceiving. Make sure that the vaccine is made from toxoids and not live vaccines. This makes it safe to be used during the pregnancy.
Tetanus is also known as lockjaw. It is a fatal disease which can damage your central nervous system. It might cause painful muscle spasms and trigger convulsions. The bacterium causing the disease is present in soil or in animal waste. Any kind of major or minor cut, you experience during pregnancy, can expose you to the threat of such fatal disease.
Diptheria is also a critical disease. Earlier, before the discovery of the vaccination, dipetheria snatched many innocent lives of young children. Diptheria booster is needed every 10 years and especially when you are pregnant. Before you experience hacking cough associated with whooping sound, it is better to take the necessary protection, in the form of the vaccination.
Hepatitis B Vaccine:
While you are pregnant, you can get exposed to many other fatal diseases which can harm both you and your precious little one inside your womb. Hepatitis B is also a very important vaccine that needs to be taken during pregnancy.
Protecting your liver is also clever decision to make whilst you are pregnant. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend every to-be-mom to get vaccinated and screened for hepatitis B. It is a very common disease to have, even without knowing. The disease is very fatal and it can cause serious liver damage and can be a triggering point for cancer. A pregnant mother, with a baby in her womb, is likely to pass the infection of hepatitis B in her child. For that reason vaccination is quite necessary.
Hepatitis A Vaccine:
Unlike hepatitis B, which spreads from blood and bodily fluids, hepatitis A is another liver disease which is transmitted through food and water. The symptoms of such disease include heavy fever, constant fatigue accompanied by nausea. Hepatitis A is normally not as threatening as Hepatitis B but nonetheless the effects are very dangerous. In most cases the illness will not affect the unborn child but no guarantee can be made. In some cases hepatitis A also contribute to premature labor.
This kind of vaccination is important, especially if you are travelling to some developing country, where the food and water are not always clean, this kind of vaccination is necessary. Consult with your doctor to know whether or not you need this vaccine.
For tendencies of specific chronic diseases like for instance diabetes or kidney related issue, this kind of vaccine is recommended. It gives protection from few forms of pneumonia. Though it is true that the potential harm caused by pneumonia, to the new born child, is still undiscovered, but protecting the child from this danger is quite necessary.
Meningococcal vaccines are also important vaccines which are needed to be taken when you are pregnant. It is a very risky disease which affects the brain and the spinal cord of a person. Meningitis can be transmitted through both bacteria and virus. Bacterial meningitis can be much more dangerous than a viral one.
Exposing your child to meningitis is not a good idea. It might cause him/her a lifelong disability or even death. The meningococcal vaccine during pregnancy can protect your child from bacterial meningitis. There are two types of meningococcal vaccines which are given to pregnant women. The first kind is known as the meningococcal conjugate vaccines or MCV4 while the second ones are known by the name meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine or MPSV4. However, only the former is known to be more effective than the latter.
It is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the CDC recommended vaccine and can be taken by pregnant women.
What vaccines are needed after pregnancy?
Once you give birth to a child, then the little one needs to go through a series of vaccination. However, it does not mean that you are not required to take any vaccines, yourself. There are few vaccines which you need to take even after childbirth.
The MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine is one of the first vaccines you need to take post pregnancy. This is because of the fact that in the entire journey of pregnancy your overall immunity level drops considerably. This makes you susceptible to various forms of diseases. Then the next vaccine you need to take is the chicken pox vaccine.
If you have not taken a Tpad vaccine during your pregnancy, then you must take it immediately upon childbirth. The importance of vaccination increases especially if you are breastfeeding your child.
If you become a mother, below the age of 26, then you must also take a HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine. This vaccine will protect you from suffering from cervical cancer. However, this vaccine shot should not be taken whilst you are already pregnant. The vaccine might have damaging effect on your baby.
Precautions and Risks:
No vaccine shots should be taken without consulting your doctor. Some shots contain live virus, which might practically damage your baby’s brain and nervous system and also can cause its death. Also if you are likely to be allergic to certain shots, then doctor’s consultation is required. For example if you are allergic to baker’s yeast then hepatitis B should be avoided.
Moreover, people with egg allergy should tend to avoid flu shot. At the same time people who are allergic to gelatin they should avoid MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. However, if you are skipping vaccine shots, you should discuss alternative means of protecting yourself from the diseases.