Many women simply do not realize that there are gaps in their vaccination records, leaving them and their unborn child vulnerable to disease.
Not only can a mother receive most of these vaccinations during pregnancy, it is also recommended that she gets vaccinated during the gestation period.
Even in cases where the mother is up-to-date on her vaccinations, there are vaccinations that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting during pregnancy to give your child early protection to dangerous infectious diseases.
Optimal Vaccination Timings
To ensure your baby is safe and protected from disease, there is an optimum time to vaccinate against specific diseases. Some vaccinations are best administered before the pregnancy, others should be administered during the pregnancy, while some are designed to vaccinate the child after it is born.
MMR: The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, is most effective when administered a month before the pregnancy begins.
Tdap: The Tdap vaccine is administered to protect your child against whooping cough (pertussis). This is best administered during the third trimester of the pregnancy. If the mother gets vaccinated during the pregnancy, she will transfer the protections to her child and it will offer initial protection in the immediate aftermath of the birth.
Flu: Flu vaccinations can be administered before or during the pregnancy as and when is necessary to protect the mother and child against the flu.
Why It is Important to Get Vaccinated During Pregnancy
Despite the CDC’s recommendations, many mothers do not vaccinate their children during or before pregnancy.
Pregnancy alters your body and immune system in a number of ways. It makes you far more susceptible to certain illnesses, and when you get them, the symptoms can be far more severe.
For example, even something as innocuous as the flu, when contracted during a pregnancy can cause developmental issues or induce an early delivery. As a result, it is highly advised that anyone who is pregnant during flu season gets a flu shot, and anyone with the flu and wears a pregnancy tracker for moms 24/7.
In the case of the whooping cough vaccination, less than half of all expecting mothers received the vaccination between 2015 and 2016, despite whooping cough cases rising and the vaccination having a 90% success rate at preventing whooping cough in the child’s early life.
Debunking the Myths Around Vaccination
Many mothers forgo vaccinating during pregnancy. They are wary of taking any medication or receiving any shots that could hurt the baby, which is understandable.
However, in the case of vaccinations, extensive research has consistently indicated that immunizations are not only safe, but they also benefit the baby during pregnancy and after birth.
There are of course exceptions, and many health providers avoid vaccinating women with egg allergies or those who are prone to Guillain-Barre syndrome. But for the vast majority of expectant mothers, healthcare professionals and the CDC encourage taking vaccination measures to protect your child.
It is highly recommended that all pregnant women, or women hoping to get pregnant in the near future, talk to a prenatal health specialist about the benefits of vaccinations.