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Some diseases are particularly harmful for pregnant women and their babies. Many of these can be prevented with immunizations. A mother’s immunity can protect her baby during pregnancy and often for the baby’s first six to 12 months of life.

When planning to get pregnant or expecting, women tend to have more contact with healthcare professionals than at other times in their lives; whichwould make it agood opportunity for your immunization status to be evaluated for consideration of additional vaccines that might be beneficial to you and your baby.

Vaccines before pregnancy

If you are planning to or could become pregnant, it’s important to speak with your healthcare professional to ensure that your immunizations are up to date.

Rubella

Rubella (German measles) can be very dangerous for your unborn baby, and is most dangerous early in your pregnancy. If you are infected in your first trimester, there is an 85 per cent chance that your baby will also be infected.Before you conceive, your healthcare professional should test your immunity to rubella. You may have received a rubella vaccine during childhood, but you may no longer have immunity against it and may need to get the vaccines again.

Vaccines during pregnancy

Hepatitis B

Your job, lifestyle or health history may put you at increased risk for becoming infected with hepatitis B. In this case, your healthcare professional may recommend that you be immunized against hepatitis B, if you have not been before. Carriers of the hepatitis B virus are at risk for cirrhosis and liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is safe during pregnancy.

Seasonal and H1N1 influenza vaccines

Influenza, or flu, is a highly contagious acute respiratory infection. The seasonal flu vaccine is safe during pregnancy and recommended for women who will be pregnant during flu season. Being immunized will also help protect your baby through his or her first few months of life.

The H1N1 influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women, and you should get it if you will be pregnant during flu season.

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis

Tetanus and tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccines are well-established as being safe for pregnant women. Recently, the Td and Pertussis vaccines have been combined as one vaccine called TDaP. Administration of the TDaP vaccine during pregnancy has not yet been studied, so the decision to use Tdap during pregnancy should be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on your risk for getting pertussis while you are pregnant.

Travel

If you need to travel abroad during pregnancy, you may need to consider other vaccines. In some parts of the world, vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio and tuberculosis are a serious concern.

Vaccines after pregnancy

It is safe for a woman to receive routine vaccines right after giving birth, even while she is breastfeeding. A woman who has not received the new vaccine for the prevention of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis should be vaccinated right after delivery. If the inactivated influenza vaccine was not given during pregnancy, a woman should receive it now because it will protect her infant.

Important Notice: all the above vaccines need to be prescribed by your doctor or gynecologist..