Vaccination during Pregnancy

What rules should be followed if you decide to be vaccinated during pregnancy?

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In every country there is a vaccination schedule – separately for children and for the adult population. Ideally, every woman planning a pregnancy should be vaccinated before pregnancy, according to the recommended schedule of adult immunization. But sometimes, for various reasons, this does not happen, which raises the question of the use of vaccine during pregnancy. There are ten fairly simple rules to follow if you want to be confident in the successful completion of pregnancy.

The first and foremost rule is: the use of the vaccine during pregnancy is possible only if the benefits of its introduction are much higher than the risks of complications.

There is no evidence of the occurrence of any adverse effects on the mother or the unborn child by using inactivated vaccines. Such vaccines are permitted and recommended during pregnancy. Live vaccines are considered safe for children and adults, but can cause irreparable harm to the fetus. They should be avoided during pregnancy.

Vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and inactivated influenza vaccine are considered absolutely safe during pregnancy. The recommended deadlines to use vaccines are between 27 and 36 weeks. Particular attention should be paid to whooping cough, the incidence of which has been growing in the world. This is due to the fact that the immunity against the disease gradually decreases after vaccination or recent infection. The mom who has got ill after giving birth is fully capable to transmit the infection to the newborn baby for whom the disease can be fatal.

Conducting vaccination during pregnancy is recommended not earlier than during the 2nd –3rd trimester to absolutely minimize the risk of possible complications.

If there is a high risk of developing the disease, then, regardless of the period, including the first trimester of pregnancy, vaccination against influenza and tetanus is approved.

The most common and urgent problem, which can terminate pregnancy or cause serious abnormalities in fetal development, is the flu virus. Intramuscular vaccination of all women in the period from October to mid-November (before the flu season) is optimal, if they are going to be pregnant during the period of mass flu. The peak usually falls on January and February but it can last until May. Intranasal influenza vaccine is live vaccine, and therefore not allowed for use in pregnant women.

Some women, who are at risk because of their place of residence, habits, and travel plans, can receive other types of vaccines approved for use during pregnancy.

Women planning a pregnancy in the near future should be vaccinated at least 1 month before pregnancy. If conception occurs much earlier than the four “quarantine” weeks after vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, yellow fever – successful completion of pregnancy cannot be guaranteed. Patients must necessarily be aware of the need for effective contraception.

In the postpartum period, the use of vaccines against varicella and rubella is considered safe and permitted, as these viruses are not transmitted through breast milk.

In any case, the decision on whether vaccination should take place is taken by the doctor monitoring pregnancy. If the specialist insists on the introduction of a particular vaccine, ask for the reasons.

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