There are varying opinions about the topic of vaccinations, primarily childhood
vaccinations. Just as children are at risk for being exposed to illnesses,
expectant mothers are also at risk of passing illnesses to their unborn child.
Yen Tran, DO, board-certified OB/GYN at
St. Joseph Hospital, Orange explained why it is crucial for moms-to-be to know which vaccinations
are recommended during pregnancy.
“Vaccinations can help protect you and your baby from specific infections
during pregnancy. In fact, vaccinations help safeguard your baby from
illness even after he or she is born and until they are able to get their
own vaccines. However, there are some vaccinations women should consider
getting before they become pregnant,” said Dr. Tran.
While these vaccines should be taken routinely as recommended during adulthood,
there are particular vaccines both Dr. Tran and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention recommend for women during pregnancy.
“If a pregnant woman hasn’t received the flu shot before becoming
pregnant, she should ask her doctor about getting it. In addition, the
TDAP vaccine is typically given during pregnancy around 27 to 36 weeks.
This vaccine protects unborn babies from pertussis (whooping cough), which
can be extremely dangerous since babies have underdeveloped immune systems,”
Dr. Tran said.
It is also important for mothers to continue vaccinations routinely as
necessary after pregnancy. Parents can still spread harmful illnesses
to their children after they are born. Dr. Tran reminds mothers to avoid
exposing newborn babies to large crowds or people who are sick.
“Germs can spread from one person to another very quickly, and babies
who have not had their own vaccines have not developed the antibodies
to fight off germs. This is why it is important to keep your child up-to-date
with his or her vaccinations as well,” Dr. Tran added.
Speak with your medical provider if you have questions about the safety
of vaccinations during pregnancy. If you need help finding a doctor, visit
sjo.org/maternity or call (877) 459-DOCS (3627).
According to the March of Dimes, women should stay up-to-date on the following vaccines
Administered every fall before flu season, which typically runs October
HPV (HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS)
A series of three vaccines administered over a period of six months and
recommended for women up to age 26
MMR (MEASLES, MUMPS AND RUBELLA)
Protects against measles, mumps and rubella which can be harmful to babies
during pregnancy and result in stillbirth or birth defects
Protects against chickenpox which can also cause birth defects if mothers
become infected with the virus during pregnancy