Do you know which vaccinations you should get while pregnant?
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
Once that plus sign turns up on your pregnancy test kit, you’re in for another round of different vaccinations, these ones time-appropriate to protect you during your pregnancy.
“According to the statistics published on the MOH website, the number of whooping cough cases has doubled since 2012 and more than half of these cases were in infants under six months of age. Immunisation during pregnancy will allow passive protection for the baby until they are old enough to be completely vaccinated against whooping cough,” says Dr Sivahami Saraswathi Sivananthan, specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, and consultant at Raffles Women's CentreSivanathan.
The doctor tells us that since there is no
single vaccine against whooping cough,
the combined Tdap vaccine is used,
which protects against whooping cough,
tetanus and diphtheria.
“Tdap can be given at any time during the pregnancy. However, to maximise the maternal antibody response and passive antibody transfer to the infant, optimal timing for Tdap administration is between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation,” adds our expert.
It’s incredible how much more dangerous the simple flu becomes when one is pregnant.
“Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant than non-pregnant women,” explains Dr Sivanathan. “This is even more so if they have other risk factors such as asthma, chronic lung disease or being overweight. Vaccination has been associated with a 50 percent reduction in confirmed influenza among women and their babies,” she adds.
The vaccine can be taken at any time – before or during pregnancy. There are two ways it is administered: through an injection or a nasal spray. During pregnancy, however, your options are limited to the injection as a nasal spray is dangerous for the baby.