|The last thing anyone wants to think about during pregnancy is vaccinations, but unfortunately, they're a necessary evil.
Being up-to-date on your vaccines is important. A lot of these illnesses can be transmitted to your unborn baby, putting your fetus at risk for birth defects or miscarriage.
Though there is some risk in getting a vaccine, and not all vaccines are 100% effective, it’s more hazardous for your unborn child to go unvaccinated than to get updated on your shots.
The most common vaccines recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are: Influenza (the inactive flu shot) and Tetanus/Diphtheria. Hepatitis B, Meningococcal and Rabies vaccines are given depending on risk of infection or exposure.
Active Vs. Inactive
If you’re pregnant, you’re going to want to avoid being vaccinated with active or live viruses. These vaccinations use diluted amounts of live virus—not enough to infect you. These small amounts of live particles help the immune system to build antibodies against the virus. Though there’s little risk to a healthy, full-grown immunes system, live virus vaccines can harm your unborn child. Therefore, it’s safer to opt for the inactive virus form. Inactive virus is still giving your immune system a minute portion of the virus but it is dead.
The Flu Shot
Pregnant women in their second and third trimester need to be concerned if they're pregnant October through February, the prime influenza, or flu season. The further along you re in pregnancy the more severe your flu symptoms can be, resulting in pneumonia or other complications. Usually flu symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, fever and cough, last four days. Although the flu nasal spray seems much more attractive, you’ll want to get the actual flu shot. The nasal spray is made with diluted active virus, while the shot is made with inactive virus, which is safer for you during pregnancy.
If you were vaccinated within four weeks of becoming pregnant with live flu vaccine (LAIV), you should talk to your doctor about possible side effects for your unborn child. However, there’s no need to panic. Receiving an active or inactive flu vaccine isn’t usually indication to terminate the pregnancy.
If you haven’t received a Td booster within the past ten years, then you’ll probably need to get one, though it may wait until the second or third trimester of your pregnancy. A tetanus (lockjaw) bacterium causes tight, sore muscles, difficulty swallowing, seizures and death. Diphtheria causes the throat to thicken, as well as breathing problems, paralysis and death. Both are things vaccinated against when you were a child, but immunity wears off over the years. Some vaccines also include pertussis, a coughing virus that can kill your newborn. Vaccinating for pertussis builds antibodies in your unborn baby and protects them when they’re born.
Vaccines To Avoid
These are vaccines the March of Dimes and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) warn against during pregnancy because they are either live vaccines or are too much of a danger to your unborn fetus. You should avoid: Live Flu Vaccine (LAIV), Measles, Mumps, Rubella (German Measles), Varicella (Chicken Pox), and BCG (tuberculosis.)