Vaccines During Pregnancy — Are They Safe?

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Giving birth to a baby is one of the most profound, emotionally-rich and transformational experiences of your life. During pregnancy, you need to undergo different tests during prenatal visits. Though vaccinations are a vital part of normal healthcare, you may wonder if it is safe to get vaccinated during pregnancy. This is quite normal and you have every right to know about it.

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Normally, vaccines that contain killed i.e., inactivated viruses are given to women during pregnancy. Vaccines containing live viruses are not given.

During pregnancy, mainly two vaccines are recommended:

  • Flu shot

Flu or influenza shot is recommended to women who conceived during the flu season i.e., typically between November and March. As this vaccine is made from an inactivated virus, it is completely safe for the mother and the baby in the womb. Avoid influenza nasal spray vaccine as it is made from an active virus. The influenza shot protects you from infection and also helps in protecting your baby. It is recommended to pregnant women as they are more prone to severe flu than other women.

  • Tdap vaccine

Tdap vaccine i.e., tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis protects your baby from whooping cough, regardless of the fact when you had the last shot. One dose is recommended to pregnant women between the 27thand 36th week even if they were vaccinated before pregnancy.

Both the vaccines have great safety records which make them safe during pregnancy. Antibodies from mothers can save babies who are too young to get vaccinated.

During pregnancy, you need to avoid vaccines such as:

  • MMR (Measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine
  • Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine
  • Varicella-zoster (Shingles) vaccine

If you are planning a pregnancy, talk to your doctor regarding the vaccinations you need to take before getting pregnant. Vaccines that contain live viruses should be taken at least one month prior to conceiving. And if you are pregnant and have been vaccinated before, you should be well aware of the vaccines taken so that you can provide a record of the immunizations to your doctor.

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Why should women share their birthing experiences?

Dr.EvitaPregnancy, birthing and bonding with the newborn baby are significant phases in a woman’s journey to motherhood.  Women when given the right knowledge as part of the preparation, enjoy a positive birthing experience. This essentially means she has been given the freedom to make choices during labour, assured of a birth companion of her choice, encouraged to birth in the position she feels comfortable and finally enjoys holding her baby to her chest (skin-to-skin).  This kind of a birth where there has been no medical intervention is termed a natural birth.  Women who experience this, feel confident, empowered and fulfilled.  They are indeed happy mothers with happy babies.  Their stories must be told and shared with other mothers / parents-to-be.

Birthing stories when shared can help an expectant mother in the following ways:

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  • Provides information and knowledge

Expectant mothers who hear birth stories get enlightened / educated and are encouraged to seek care givers who will help them enjoy similar positive births. These stories help women to have confidence in their own bodies and in their ability to birth. more “Why should women share their birthing experiences?”

Depression During Pregnancy

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You may be aware of postpartum depression. But do you know many women suffer from depression during pregnancy? The most common disorder, depression is defined as a mood disorder that causes loss of interest and a persistent feeling of sadness. It’s normal to feel low occasionally, but if it lasts for a long period, you’re suffering from depression. It affects different aspects of your life — from how you think and act to eating and sleeping. This condition occurs more in women than men and during the reproductive years, the initial onset of depression is at its peak. more “Depression During Pregnancy”