Vac­ci­na­tions in preg­nancy

Little Treasures - - HEALTH FAMILY -

Vac­ci­na­tions against in­fluenza and whoop­ing cough (per­tus­sis) dur­ing preg­nancy are pub­li­cally funded and rou­tinely rec­om­mended, says Dr He­len Pe­tousis-har­ris, who lec­tures on gen­eral prac­tice and pri­mary health care at the Univer­sity of Auck­land, and is also the di­rec­tor of re­search at the Im­mu­ni­sa­tion Ad­vi­sory Cen­tre. Not all vac­cines are dan­ger­ous dur­ing preg­nancy. “These vac­cines are safe – they’re not live,” says Dr Pe­tousis-har­ris. “We rec­om­mend that preg­nant women don’t have live vac­cines, although the risk from them is purely hy­po­thet­i­cal. If you have a [live] vac­ci­na­tion while you are preg­nant with­out know­ing, there’s no prob­lem.” In­fluenza vaccine is par­tic­u­larly rec­om­mended be­cause preg­nant women carry a higher risk of prob­lems if they get the virus, as does their de­vel­op­ing baby. Per­tus­sis can also make ba­bies very sick, so it’s best if they carry im­mu­nity to the dis­ease when they’re born. Check­ing your rubella sta­tus if you’re preg­nant or plan­ning to be is also es­sen­tial, she says. Test­ing for rubella an­ti­bod­ies is com­mon med­i­cal prac­tice in early preg­nancy but ide­ally, you should check your sta­tus be­fore con­ceiv­ing, as you cannot be vac­ci­nated while you’re car­ry­ing the baby. “While rubella’s not con­sid­ered a se­ri­ous dis­ease in chil­dren and adults, it can be ab­so­lutely hor­rific to a de­vel­op­ing foe­tus. The virus can cause all sorts of mal­for­ma­tions, in­clud­ing neu­ro­log­i­cal dam­age and blind­ness.”

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