Pregnancy does not prevent a woman from receiving some vaccines and some are recommended. The benefits of protection for teh mother and her unborn child often outweigh any theoretical risk of vaccination. However some vaccines should be avoided.
Whooping cough vaccine in Pregnancy
Whooping cough vaccination also known as Pertussis vaccination is recommended during pregnancy from 28 to 32 weeks gestation. The aim is to boost mum’s antibodies so that these can pass to the baby through the placenta. This gives the new born baby some of it’s mum’s protection in the first few weeks of life, before the baby is vaccinated.
Most samedaydoctor clinics stock the necessary whooping cough vaccine and can offer this at very short notice at a time convenient to you.
Flu vaccine in Pregnancy
Flu vaccine is recommended for pregnant women during ‘flu season’ (October to February in the UK). This is because pregnant women are more susceptible to becoming seriously ill from flu. The benefits of inactivated flu vaccine are greater than any theoretical risk of vaccination.
Rubella in pregnancy
Rubella or German Measles can cause severe abnormalities of the baby and all women should be vaccinated prior to pregnancy. Immunity from vaccination is not guaranteed and a blood test to check immunity prior to trying for a baby is advisable. Pregnant women who have not had an immunity test prior to pregnancy should have one early on and if not immune take extra care to avoid contact with German Measles. Pregnancy must be avoided for at least 1 month and some authorities recommend 3 months, after vaccination.
Travel Vaccines in Pregnancy
Travel to parts of the world where infectious diseases are more prevalent is not ideal in pregnancy and the dangers should be taken into account when booking trips. Live vaccines should generally be avoided during pregnancy, including Yellow fever. Pregnant women should where possible avoid going to areas where their is a risk of contracting Yellow Fever, but if the travel is unavoidable, vaccination may be considered.
Inactivated vaccines, such as hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, polio and tetanus, can be used if the risk of infection is high, but where possible travel to areas of risk should be avoided or vaccination carried our prior to pregnancy.
Pregnant women should avoid travel to areas with malaria risk during pregnancy. If travel is unavoidable, bite prevention is essential but DEET over 50% should be avoided. The type of anti-malarial tablets to use in pregnancy, if exposure is unavoidable should be decided by a doctor based on where the woman is travelling to.
MMR vaccines must be avoided in pregnancy, as should BCG. Any vaccine should where possible be given when not pregnant.