During the 9 months of pregnancy, the future mother’s immunity decreases. This means that she is more vulnerable to certain infections and diseases that can be harmful to both her and the fetus if she is not vaccinated.
Vaccination during pregnancy aims to prevent the future mother from getting sick and to ensure the immunity of the newborn in the first months of life. The antibodies produced are transmitted through the placenta, protecting the baby in the first 5-6 months of life, while ensuring a better and faster immune response to the vaccine doses it will receive later. There are 2 routine vaccinations recommended during pregnancy: the flu vaccine and the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (TPD) vaccine. These are inactive vaccines and have no risk to the fetus.
Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTP)
Vaccination against whooping cough is done with the triple DTPa vaccine (Diphtheria-Tetanus-Acellular Pertussis). Whooping cough is a dangerous infection, which, at young ages, increases the risk of pneumonia and other severe complications. This type of vaccine is recommended during pregnancy to avoid neonatal tetanus and diphtheria. Tetanus is caused by the bacillus Clostridium tetani. At birth or during labor, following specific surgical maneuvers, the fetus can become contaminated with tetanus bacilli. Tetanus affects the peripheral nerves and can cause paralysis or damage to the heart muscle. Diphtheria is an acute disease, produced by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae, that affects the respiratory tract. Both can be fatal.
The serum is administered in two doses, in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Ideally, it would be between the 27th and 36th weeks of pregnancy, so that the protection against whooping cough (pertussis) is transmitted to the fetus.
The flu vaccine
The decrease in immunity during pregnancy increases the risk of catching the flu, pregnant women being more prone to the complications of the disease, including premature birth, than those who are not expecting a child. That’s why doctors recommend immunizing all pregnant women during the flu season, more precisely from October to March. The serum is administered intramuscularly and contains inactive virus. The vaccine is safe, both for the mother and for the child, and can be given in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Immunization against influenza during pregnancy provides protection for the newborn during the first 6 months after birth. After this age, the baby can, in turn, be vaccinated.
Do you want to travel?
If you are pregnant and plan to travel abroad or have an increased risk for certain infections, your doctor may recommend immunization for hepatitis A, antimeningococcal or antipneumococcal.
Vaccines, also recommended before pregnancy
It is good to learn about routine vaccinations for adults before you become pregnant. For example, rubella is a contagious disease that can cause serious problems for the fetus, with lifelong consequences, and even its death. You can find out through a blood test whether or not you are immune to this disease. The best protection against rubella is provided by the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. However, if you did not get vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTPa) before conception, you can do so after pregnancy, even if you are breastfeeding. New mothers can also be immunized against rubella, mumps, measles and/or chicken pox, even if they are breastfeeding.
Before conception, if the patient does not have protective immunity, she can be vaccinated against influenza at the beginning of the cold season, as well as against hepatitis B (HBV), varicella-zoster virus, tetanus and measles-mumps-rubella (contraception for at least 28 days and the at least one menstrual cycle after vaccination). During pregnancy, the doctor can recommend pregnant women to be immunized against influenza (inactive virus), hepatitis A, hepatitis B (except for pregnant women who are diagnosed with hepatitis B virus infection or who have anti-HBs protective antibodies), meningitis. The vaccine against convulsive cough (acellular vaccine), in the 3rd trimester, and the anti-polio vaccine are also indicated. Contraindicated in pregnancy are: ROR (measles-mumps-rubella), chicken pox/herpes zoster and HPV.