Home > NIAM, Preventable Diseases, Science & Research, Seasonal Flu > Protecting Your Baby’s Health Starts with Vaccines in Pregnancy

Protecting Your Baby’s Health Starts with Vaccines in Pregnancy

National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder that we all need vaccines throughout our lives.  This week we are focusing on the importance of vaccines during pregnancy.  These vaccines help protect expectant mothers while also passing immunity to babies that can help protect them from disease before they are old enough to receive their own vaccines.  

fb_timeline_baby.jpg

From the moment you found out you were pregnant, you started protecting your developing baby. You might have changed the way you eat, started taking a prenatal vitamin, or researching the kind of car seat you’ll buy. But did you know that one of the best ways to start protecting your developing baby against serious diseases is by making sure you get the whooping cough (Tdap) and flu vaccines while you are pregnant?

The vaccines you get during your pregnancy will provide your developing baby with some disease protection (immunity) that will last the first months of life after birth. By getting vaccinated during pregnancy, you can pass antibodies to your baby that may help protect against diseases.  This early protection is critical for diseases like the flu and whooping cough because babies in the first several months of life are at the greatest risk of severe illness from these diseases. However, they are too young to be vaccinated themselves. Passing maternal antibodies on to them is the only way to help directly protect them.

In cases when doctors are able to determine who spread whooping cough to an infant, the mother was often the source. Once you have protection from the Tdap shot, you are less likely to give whooping cough to your newborn while caring for him or her.

Headphones on stomachWhen it comes to flu, even if you are generally healthy, changes in immune, heart, and lung functions during pregnancy make you more likely to have a severe case of the flu if you catch it. If you catch the flu when you are pregnant, you also have a higher chance of experiencing pregnancy complications, such as premature labor and delivery. Getting a flu shot will help protect you and your baby while you are pregnant.

You also can rest assured that these vaccines are very safe for you and your developing baby. Millions of pregnant women have safely received flu shots for many years, and the CDC continues to monitor safety data on flu vaccine in pregnant women.

antoniobirthThe whooping cough vaccine also is very safe for you and your developing baby. Doctors and midwives who specialize in caring for pregnant women agree that the whooping cough vaccine is important to get during the third trimester of each pregnancy. Getting the vaccine during your pregnancy will not put you at increased risk for pregnancy complications.

You should get your whooping cough vaccine between your 27th and 36th week of pregnancy. You can get a flu shot during any trimester. You can get whooping cough and flu vaccines at the same time during your pregnancy or at different visits. If you are pregnant during the flu season, you should get a flu vaccine soon after vaccine is available.

If you want to learn more about pregnancy and vaccines, talk to you ob-gyn or midwife, and visit the pregnancy pages at Vaccinate Your Family and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  1. August 8, 2016 at 11:49 am

    The Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has a Q&A sheet with information about vaccines for women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant: http://media.chop.edu/data/files/pdfs/infectious-diseaess-pregnancy-qa.pdf. The sheet discusses the basics of immunity as well as answering common questions related to vaccines, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. August 6, 2017 at 8:02 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: