Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Pregnant, or Will Be, Soon? Vaccinate to Protect Yourself, Baby From Disease

Editor's Note: This video on vaccinations before and during pregnancy is part of a monthly Texas Medical Association series highlighting infectious diseases that childhood and adult vaccinations can prevent. MeAndMyDoctor.com posts a video about a different disease each month. Some of the diseases featured include: FluMeaslesPneumococcal diseaseHuman papillomavirus (HPV)Chickenpox and shinglesPertussis (whooping cough), Hepatitis ARubella (also known as German measles), RotavirusPolioMumpsTetanusHepatitis B, and Meningococcal BDiphtheria, and more.

TMA designed the series to inform people of the facts about these diseases and to help them understand the benefits of vaccinations to prevent illness. Visit the TMA website to see news releases and more information about these diseases, as well as physicians' efforts to raise immunization awareness.

In the video above, Austin obstetrician-gynecologist Kimberly Carter, MD, discusses the recommended vaccinations for women before and during pregnancy, and the complications that can occur by not getting vaccinated.

Before pregnancy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends women considering pregnancy to get the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, especially in wake of the measles outbreaks happening across the U.S.  All three of these diseases create complications for mom and baby. Pregnant women who contract measles can develop complications like pneumonia. Measles can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, and preterm delivery - and potentially pass on the disease to the child. Babies who contract rubella are susceptible to heart disease, spina bifida, blindness, deafness, and intellectual disabilities.

During pregnancy

During pregnancy, women are advised to get the flu and Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) vaccines. Flu during pregnancy can cause severe illness that can lead to hospitalization and  result in preterm labor and birth. According to the CDC, flu can also harm a pregnant woman's baby. By getting the flu vaccine, a vaccinated new mom can pass on protection against the flu to her baby through breastfeeding - which is crucial because infants can't receive a flu shot until they are six months old.

Women also protect their baby when they get the Tdap vaccine. Tdap protects baby from whooping cough (pertussis), a serious threat to unprotected babies. The CDC says pregnant women should get this shot in the third trimester.

By vaccinating, women can protect themselves and their baby against serious diseases.

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