If you are pregnant, and you catch certain infections, they can be harmful for you and your baby. That is why vaccinations are considered very important during pregnancy. This way you can ensure that your body is protected from infection, which you might pass on to your baby. Vaccinations are necessary for us and we receive quite a few during our childhood and growing up years, but, they do not protect you forever, and therefore you need to take what are called booster shots as an adult.
Vaccinations are sometimes necessary during a pregnancy and the risks involved depend on the type of vaccine you need to get. Vaccines that contain live, weakened viruses are usually risky during pregnancy as they can give you an infection which you might pass on to the foetus. Vaccines with inactive viruses are considered safe to be taken during pregnancy.
Some of these are: rabies, inactivated polio, meningococcal, Tetanus-Diptheria, Influenza, Hepatitis B, anthrax, and yellow fever or Japanese encephalitis if you need to travel to high risk areas. Given here are some risks that come along with different vaccines if you take them during pregnancy.
Risks of different vaccines during pregnancy
Risks Of Vaccines During Pregnancy
Vaccines that are contraindicated as they contain live, weakened viruses, which might harm the foetus, should not be administered during pregnancy. Varicella vaccine is also risky to take during pregnancy due to the above mentioned reason. So, to be on the safer side, always consider taking it much before you are planning to conceive.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccine (mmr)
Some vaccines are risky to take before or during your pregnancy as they may harm your child and affect your pregnancy. MMR, which uses live viruses, is one such vaccine that is reported to have caused autism in children born to mothers who had this vaccine during pregnancy, especially if taken after the first trimester. So, discuss with your doctor if you need to take this vaccine due to a risk of high exposure.
Polio Vaccine (IPV)
Polio vaccines are given to pregnant women only if they are at a high risk of contracting the infection such as if they are travelling to an area where there is a risk of contracting polio. Although no documented risks are available, theoretically it may harm the foetus when given at a particular stage of the pregnancy, and it is always advisable to take your doctor’s advice if you really need to take this vaccine.
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Hepatitis A vaccine contains live, inactivated strains of viruses, and may pose a risk during pregnancy to the mother and the foetus. Since the safety of this vaccine has not been determined during pregnancy, theoretically it is best to avoid taking it unless you are at a risk of exposure. Even if you contract Hepatitis A during pregnancy, immune globin can be administered to control the situation. So, it’s better not to take a risk with this vaccine during pregnancy.
Chicken Pox Vaccine
The chicken pox vaccine is also made with live, weakened virus, and it is advisable to avoid taking it during pregnancy. It is best to get yourself vaccinated a few months in advance before you get pregnant, in case you have never had chicken pox in childhood. However, if you get to know you are pregnant, but have never had chicken pox, discuss the risks with your doctor as getting chicken pox during pregnancy can also be very risky for the foetus.
If you do need to get a vaccine during pregnancy due to a health reason, or if you are traveling, then do consult your doctor about the pros and cons of a particular vaccine. If the benefits outweigh the risks associated with a particular vaccine in a certain situation, your doctor will consider and take the right decision.