If you don’t like needles, this may not be your favourite topic but you will probably need to take an injection or vaccination during your pregnancy. Not to fear though, not all the tests will involve needles. For more on some of the tests you may undergo during pregnancy, see section on, Tests and Scans During Pregnancy.
Your level of immunity is extremely important during pregnancy. Your immunity against certain harmful diseases will not only help keep you and your unborn baby safe during pregnancy. It will also be passed on to your baby and can help protect your baby before he is given his own vaccinations (immunizations) and that is not all, your baby will still keep getting immunity from you through breast milk, if you choose to breastfeed after delivery.
If you cannot remember the immunizations you received as a child (or adult), you might need to ask your parents or guardian, or even get your childhood immunization records. Some vaccines are safe to take during pregnancy, while others are not and should be taken before pregnancy. Vaccines should only be taken during pregnancy, if you and your medical practitioner have weighed the benefits and risks involved.
Generally, as a rule, live (activated) vaccines are not safe for pregnant women while inactivated vaccines may be taken either during pregnancy or before you fall pregnant (see section on this in Physical Examination).
|VACCINATIONS||WHAT IT CAN HELP PREVENT||NOTES|
|Tetanus, Diphtheria and Whooping Cough (DTaP)||Cessation in baby’s breathing
|· It is normally given between 27-36 weeks of pregnancy|
|Hepatitis A, B & C||Cancer
Liver infection or long-term liver disease in babies
|· Hepatitis A & B can be taken during pregnancy if the benefits and risks have been medically analyzed.
· There is currently no immunization for Hepatitis C.
· Hepatitis B & C can be spread through transmission of bodily fluids and blood.
Low weight births
|· Might be important for people travelling to certain countries for holiday, work or delivery (especially during flu/winter season).
· Most types of flu vaccines can be taken at any time during pregnancy if the benefits and risks have been medically analyzed.
· Flu vaccines can help protect your newborn for the first few months of life.
meningitis and septicaemia
|· Can be taken at any time during pregnancy.|
|Meningococcal||An infection of the brain and spinal cord which can cause meningitis or septicaemia.
Severe headache and stiff neck
|· Some variations of the meningococcal vaccine may not be safe, always check first with your medical practitioner before taking any immunizations during pregnancy.|
If you are travelling to another country or a different location in the same country, find out what type of vaccinations you will need to take before you embark on your journey. You should always find out from your medical practitioner if it is safe to take any vaccine before being inoculated. You might need to delay your trip if the country/place of destination is currently going through an epidemic which has no vaccine or if the vaccine available is a live one (activated).
- Immunization & Pregnancy Flyer. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. www.cdc.gov/vaccines.