How important are vaccinations for mums and mums-to-be?
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
Are Vaccinations Really that Important?
In short, yes. Dr Sivahami Saraswathi Sivananthan, specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, and consultant at Raffles Women's Centre explains, “Rubella or German measles can lead to serious birth defects. 85 per cent of babies born to mothers who have rubella in the first three months of pregnancy will have a birth defect. Chicken pox in the first trimester can also cause serious birth defects. An infection close to delivery can lead to varicella infection in the newborn and there can be serious consequences to the pregnant mum such as pneumonia, hepatitis and encephalitis. Therefore, vaccination of a non-immune mother pre-pregnancy or after delivery is definitely advised.”
Where hepatitis B is concerned, its importance depends on your risk level.
Our expert tells us that it can be spread from an infected mother to her baby at birth.
“The infection can range in severity from a mild illness with no symptoms to a serious condition leading to liver failure. Some people, especially adults, are able to clear the virus without treatment. People who clear the virus become immune. Therefore, pregnant women who are not immune to hepatitis B and are not at risk of contracting it need not be vaccinated in pregnancy. It is best to consult with your doctor to decide the need for vaccination,” says Dr Srivanathan.