Pregnancy is a special period in a woman’s life. Each future mother would certainly like to be prepared as best as possible for its challenges. And just as we care about the health of our loved ones, so it is also worth taking care of the health of our future family member before they even come into this world. How can this be done? Vaccinations can help.
What are vaccines?
Vaccines are specialized biological preparations, most often consisting of one or more antigens, which are obtained from live or dead microorganisms. Purified fragments of microorganisms and products of bacterial metabolism can also be used for the production of vaccines. In addition, vaccines contain stabilizing substances and preservatives.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines induce an immune response similar to the natural immunity obtained by the body after going through a disease or microorganism infection.
Then is it worth vaccinating, if we obtain similar immunity after going through the disease? Vaccinations help weaken the disease, helping us avoid its most harmful effects and possible complications that threaten not only health but also life. Vaccines consisting of live microorganisms elicit a strong immune response in the body, therefore providing immunity to a given antigen after a single dose. In the case of inactivated vaccines, i.e. vaccines created on the basis of dead microorganisms or their purified fragments, it is necessary to administer several doses to obtain immunity.
Which vaccinations should a mother-to-be decide on?
Before a planned pregnancy, it is worth taking care of your immunity. The following vaccinations are recommended in order to protect against infections that are dangerous for both the pregnant woman and the fetus:
• whooping cough,
• hepatitis B,
Only inactivated (dead) vaccines may be given during pregnancy. It should be remembered that after vaccination with a preparation containing live microorganisms, a woman should not become pregnant for at least 1 month.
Live vaccines include vaccines against rubella, chickenpox, mumps, and measles.
Vaccinations recommended during pregnancy include:
• flu vaccination – you can get vaccinated regardless of the gestational age, preferably in the 2nd or 3rd trimester, when pregnant women are most often hospitalized after infection with the flu virus,
• whooping cough vaccination with the DTaP vaccine (against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis with a reduced content of pertussis and diphtheria antigens) – recommended in every pregnancy between 27th and 36th week, thanks to which protective antibodies, passing through the placenta, protect the child in the first few months after birth.
Other vaccines (however, they must be inactivated) may be administered in particularly justified situations of exposure to infection, for example before traveling to distant countries. Such vaccinations include those against:
• hepatitis A,
• hepatitis B,
• Japanese encephalitis,
• rabies – after exposure to infection, i.e. after being bitten by an animal, regardless of the gestational age.