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Immunizations for Pregnant Women


Did you know pregnant women can get their flu shot at any point during pregnancy? The flu shot is the best way to protect pregnant women and their babies from the flu

Protecting your baby from diseases begins before birth.

Pregnant women can and should be vaccinated in order to safeguard their health as well as their baby’s well-being. (Visit the CDC's webpage on Vaccines for Pregnant Women) Pregnant mothers who contract a vaccine-preventable disease are more likely to suffer severe complications from the disease than would a typical, healthy adult. This is especially true when considering the flu, as pregnant women who get the flu during the second half of pregnancy are more likely than other women to suffer severe symptoms or complications, such as pneumonia, and can even experience premature labor and delivery.
 

A baby’s first line of defense against disease is the mother’s resistance to it.

Pregnant women pass antibodies on to their babies before birth, preparing the baby as much as possible for life outside the safety of the womb. As a result, research studies have found that getting a flu shot during pregnancy can decrease a baby’s chances of contracting the flu for up to six months after birth. This is a two-for-one benefit that you get with vaccination during pregnancy.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) recommends that women who are pregnant during flu season – October through May – receive the flu shot. (Click here to visit the CDC's webpage on flu vaccination for pregnant women.) It is safe for pregnant women during any trimester, their unborn children, as well as for postpartum and breastfeeding women. However, flu strains change every year, so don’t rely on last year’s flu shot to get you through this year’s flu season.
 
The CDC recommends the Tdap vaccine for pregnant women as well. Tdap prevents tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis. Whooping Cough is a respiratory infection that can cause severe coughing and makes breathing very difficult. Pregnant women are encouraged to get the Tdap shot to protect them from whooping cough and also to ensure that they pass some of the protective antibodies on to their unborn baby. This helps to protect the baby from whooping cough during the first few months of its life.
 

About half of all infants who get sick with whooping cough are hospitalized.

This is one of the many reasons why it is so important that babies are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Babies younger than six months are more likely to catch certain infectious diseases than older children. But babies within this age group are also too young to have received all the vaccine doses needed to protect them from many of the diseases previously mentioned, as most vaccinations require a series of doses to be fully effective. For this reason, another great way to protect your baby from catching diseases is through the vaccination of the people who will be in close contact with your child, such as parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, child care providers, babysitters and healthcare providers. Once the baby’s close contacts are vaccinated, they are less likely to pass contagious diseases to your baby. Instead, they surround the baby with protection against disease until he or she is old enough to get all the doses of vaccine needed to be fully protected.”
 
If you have questions about shots for pregnant women or other adults, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider.

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