Pregnancy: What vaccines are important?

When thinking of pregnancy it is important to have a conversation with your doctor regarding vaccines before you decide to get pregnant. Making sure all of your vaccinations are current is always important, however, it is important to specifically focus on certain vaccines before your pregnancy.

The vaccines to focus on are for your pregnancy are:

Rubella – A rubella blood test detects antibodies  that are made by the immune system  to help kill the rubella  virus. These antibodies remain in the bloodstream for years. The presence of certain antibodies means a recent infection, a past infection, or that you have been vaccinated against the disease.

Rubella usually does not cause long-term problems. But a woman infected with the rubella virus during pregnancy can transmit the disease to her baby (fetus). And serious birth defects called congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) could develop, especially during the first trimester . Birth defects of CRS include cataracts and other eye problems, hearing impairment, and heart disease. Miscarriage  and stillbirth are also possible consequences for pregnant women. The vaccination to prevent rubella protects against these complications.

Tetanus/Diphtheria – This combination of vaccines is routinely recommended for pregnant women, both those who have never been immunized and those who have not received a booster in 10 years. It is common to only give this in pregnancy when there has been trauma.

If it has been more than 2 years since the last dT, you will be offered dTaP after pregnancy.

Influenza (The flu vaccine) –  This vaccine can prevent serious illness in the mother during pregnancy. You can receive the vaccine at any stage of your pregnancy.

Whooping Cough – This vaccine is important to receive during your pregnancy as your body will create protective antibodies and pass some of them to your baby before birth. These antibodies provide your baby some short-term protection against whooping cough in early life. These antibodies can also protect your baby from some of the more serious complications that come along with whooping cough.

It is also important to be sure that your partner and any  individuals that may come in contact with the baby once the baby is home remain current with all of their immunizations.