When vaccinated during pregnancy, the expecting mother’s antibodies are transferred to the baby and protects both mother and child during the pregnancy and the baby during the first few months after delivery. But not all vaccines can be taken when pregnant.
Two vaccinations can be taken when pregnant. One is for flu and the other for whooping cough (also called Tdap).
• The flu(influenza) shot protects the mother and baby during the flu season. The baby is also protected after birth from flu associated complications. Do not take the nasal flu vaccine as it contains live virus.
• Tdap is to protect the baby from whooping cough(pertussis). It is one of the major causes of death in babies younger than two months. This is vaccination is usually taken between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy.
There are few other vaccinations that are taken before you plan your pregnancy (and should not be taken once pregnant). You will have to talk with your doctor regarding this in detail. The vaccinations are
- Hepatitis B
When pregnant, we should only take vaccines that contain killed or inactivated viruses. The vaccines that must be avoided when pregnant are
- chicken pox
- travel vaccines – They are vaccinations taken before travelling to protect from any local diseases prevalent in those destinations like yellow fever, typhoid fever.
Hence some vaccinations need to be taken before you plan your pregnancy, some when you are pregnant and a few others after you have delivered your baby (this is mainly if any remaining doses of vaccination are left to be taken). Discuss with your doctor in detail before planning to take any vaccination.
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