Some diseases, like the flu, are more serious for pregnant women. Risk of premature labor and delivery is increased in pregnant women with the flu.
It is important to protect both the mother’s and developing baby’s health by being up to date on vaccines before pregnancy and getting recommended vaccines during pregnancy. Getting vaccinated during pregnancy helps protect the baby after birth by passing on antibodies.
“While you are pregnant, the risk of complications from the flu, whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria are greatly increased and can be serious for you and your baby,” says Mary Steffy, Manager at Lancaster’s Nurse Family Partnership.”Getting the flu and Tdap vaccines during pregnancy will protect you and your baby. Current research shows that the vaccines do not cause pregnancy problems, birth defects or autism.”
Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to help you develop immunity to potentially life-threatening diseases before you are exposed to them. Vaccines are tested to ensure they are safe and effective for pregnant women.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maternal Tdap and flu vaccinations are crucial because newborn babies are at the greatest risk for whooping cough and its life-threatening complications, and babies younger than 6 months of age are too young to get the flu vaccine.
The Tdap vaccine and flu vaccine can help prevent whooping cough and the flu, which are common in the United States.
Preteens and teens need four vaccines: meningococcal conjugate vaccine, HPV vaccine, Tdap vaccine, and a yearly flu vaccine.
All adults also should get vaccinated to protect against the flu and other serious diseases like shingles and pneumonia.
Getting vaccinated at the recommended time is the best way to protect against serious disease. Ask your doctor or nurse about the vaccines you need to be protected.