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Vaccination During Pregnancy - What's Recommended?
Many readers have asked about whether it is safe to have vaccinations during pregnancy. It is a controversial issue and much of the fear around vaccines is caused by misinformation, unscientific conclusions, and rumor. The answer to whether vaccines are safe during pregnancy is not straightforward. Some vaccines, such as Flu (influenza) and tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) are strongly recommended as the antibodies are passed from mother to baby. However, vaccines which use live viruses, like the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, are strongly discouraged.
Safe Vaccinations During Pregnancy:
The flu and Tdap vaccines have been proven to be safe by medical scientists and are strongly recommended for pregnant women.
Flu Vaccine during Pregnancy:
Pregnant women are seven times more likely to contract the flu. And, because your body is so busy growing a human being, it can be harder to fight off. In the worst cases, influenza can lead to hospitalization, pregnancy complications, and even death. Therefore, an influenza vaccine during pregnancy trimester one or two is strongly recommended.
Tdap Vaccine during Pregnancy:
Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination is recommended between 27 and 36 weeks pregnant. It passes whooping cough antibodies through the placenta to your unborn child and helps prevent neonatal illness and death.
Unsafe Vaccinations During Pregnancy:
Many vaccines work by infecting you with a living (although weakened) dose of the virus and allowing your body to build an immunity to it. The MMR vaccine is one such example. Doctors do not recommend using the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine during pregnancy because the virus may not be fought off right away and could cross the placenta. Although the risk is very slight, a virus such as rubella could be passed to your baby from the inoculation, causing miscarriage, birth defects, or slowed development. Therefore, vaccines using a live virus are not recommended during pregnancy. Speak to your medical professionals if you're unsure.
A Note on Childhood Vaccinations:
While not all vaccines are recommended while pregnant, it is strongly recommended that you ensure your baby has a complete vaccination program. The links between vaccination and autism have been disproven and the anti-vaccination movement is based entirely on fear and ignorance. The advent of inoculations has seen huge decreases in countless deadly childhood diseases such as polio. It would be a shame to see these return due to people spreading fear about the risks of vaccinating.
A Directory of Articles on Vaccines and Pregnancy:
If you're interested in reading more about the science behind different vaccines and their effects on pregnancy, scroll through our comprehensive directory of vaccination articles here: