When you’re pregnant or thinking about conceiving, there’s a lot to consider. At the top of the list should be ensuring you’re in the best health possible to give your baby the best start in life. A critical step in achieving this is making sure you are vaccinated.
If the world of vaccinations seems overwhelming, check out our handy guide below.
If you are planning on becoming pregnant, its always a good idea to go to a GP for a general check-up to ensure you are fit and well. It’s usually recommended that you have a blood test to check your immunity to certain infectious illnesses, including hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. If you’re not immune – or if your immunity has waned over time – your doctor may recommend that you get vaccinated before getting pregnant.
The following vaccines are routinely recommended during pregnancy to give you and your baby the best protection.
Flu vaccination: During pregnancy, your risk of getting flu increases. If you do catch the flu while pregnant, you’re likely to have more severe symptoms and a higher risk of complications, especially at the tail end of your pregnancy, which can put your baby at risk. Having a flu vaccine during pregnancy will not only protect you from the flu but also helps protect your baby from influenza for the first six months of their life when they are still too young to be vaccinated.
Whooping cough vaccination: In Australia, more than 200 babies are hospitalised each year with whooping cough. Babies cannot be vaccinated against whooping cough until they are two months old, but you can protect your baby by getting vaccinated during pregnancy. Vaccination against whooping cough is recommended in every pregnancy, ideally at 20-32 weeks. It is essential that other people who will be having close contact with your baby, such as your partner, parents or friends – are also vaccinated against whooping cough and influenza.
Babies and vaccinations
It is recommended that all babies are vaccinated against hepatitis B at birth. The next childhood vaccinations are recommended at two, four, six, 12 and 18 months, and then at four years. These vaccinations protect your baby against a variety of infectious illnesses, including whooping cough, meningococcal disease and tetanus.
Sometimes it can be hard to make sense of all the available information, so for personalised advice make sure to talk to a doctor. If you have any questions about vaccinations and pregnancy or would like to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to get in touch.