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Vaccination during pregnancy: What To Take And What To Avoid

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Taking vaccinations during pregnancy can protect you from several infectious diseases that could create complications. Furthermore, the vaccine-induced antibodies pass on to your baby and provide them with immunity against certain infections and diseases they may face in the early months of their life after birth (1).

Hence, consult your healthcare provider about the vaccines you should take during pregnancy and the ones to be avoided. For instance, Tdap and flu shots are mandatory for pregnant women to prevent whooping cough and influenza, respectively (2).

Read on to learn about the vaccines that pregnant women need, their benefits, and their side effects.

Which Vaccines Are Recommended During Pregnancy?

If you are planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant, you may need the following vaccines upon doctor’s consultation.

  • Flu (also called influenza): Pregnant women are more susceptible to influenza infection, commonly known as flu, affecting the baby post-delivery. Hence, the flu shot is one of the most important pregnancy vaccines and can be administered during any trimester (2).
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis): Tdap vaccine shots can be given within 27 to 36 weeks of pregnancy and are mostly recommended towards the beginning of the third trimester. Whooping cough or pertussis is one of the fatal diseases that can affect the health of your newborn (2).
  • Pneumococcal vaccine: If you are susceptible to pneumonia or pneumococcal disease, your baby may contract the disease from you. The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended to take during pregnancy only after consulting a healthcare provider (3).
  • Meningococcal vaccine: Your doctor may recommend the meningitis vaccine if you show any signs or symptoms and may act as a carrier of the disease for your baby (3).
  • Hepatitis A and B: If you suffer from any liver disorder, you may be given the hepatitis A vaccine. In the case of hepatitis B, your baby may contract the disease from you, and the vaccine dosage is recommended, given you show any symptoms of hepatitis B (1).
  • Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (also called Hib): The Hib vaccine may be given if you contract Hib infection or your body is devoid of a functioning spleen. The vaccine may be administered during any trimester (3).
  • Covid-19: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends administering the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy to protect you and your newborn from contracting the disease. COVID-19 infection affects the respiratory system and increases the risk for pregnancy complications, such as premature birth or stillbirth (4).

What Vaccines To Avoid During Pregnancy?

Some vaccines are forbidden during pregnancy because they are made up of living attenuated viruses with risk of fetal infection and potential fetal malformations. They include (5):

  • Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine for tuberculosis
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Varicella vaccine for chickenpox
  • Zoster vaccine for protection against shingles

What Are The Possible Side Effects of Vaccination In Pregnancy?

Some commonly experienced side effects of a vaccine include (2):

  • Swelling or redness at the site of the vaccine shot
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Fever
  • Rash (non-contagious) near the site of the vaccine shot

These side effects are common among non-pregnant individuals too. The manifestation may vary depending upon the vaccine. However, if you experience severe discomfort after vaccination, you should consult your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What happens upon exposure to disease while pregnant?

After monitoring your symptoms and assessing the safety of the specific vaccine during pregnancy, your doctor may proceed with the appropriate treatment (6).

  1. Do vaccinations cause autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a developmental disorder that causes behavioural, social or communication problems. According to the CDC, vaccination does not cause ASD. It may occur due to a genetic anomaly or any surrounding factor (7) (8).

Taking the appropriate vaccination during pregnancy helps prevent some likely infectious diseases that can harm you or your baby. Since your baby’s immunity depends on your health, you should take care of yourself and get vaccinated as and when recommended by your healthcare provider.

References:

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Aneesha Amonz

Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. She has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences. In addition, she has an internship experience in Oil India Limited as an R&D project trainee. As a writer at MomJunction, Aneesha ensures her content is engaging and... more