Getting pregnant or preparing for that stage of life can be among the most exciting periods in a woman's life as you prepare to bring children into the world. However, you must make all the necessary preparations to help you undergo a smooth pregnancy term that does not cause you and your baby complications. Usually, your body's immunity is likely to decline upon getting pregnant, as the different hormonal changes and your baby’s growth takes a toll on regular physiological functions. As a result, you want to get all crucial immunizations that help sustain the required immunity levels for a successful full-term pregnancy. In getting immunized early enough, you save you and your baby from chronic illnesses that may otherwise cause lifelong problems that may sometimes have no cure.
Since a pregnant woman's body operates uniquely, we recommend seeking medical services from professional obstetricians who understand the body's health conditions and requirements. Finding a reliable obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) is crucial in promoting proper immunization schedules based on your medical history and genetic makeup. At All Women's Care, you will receive excellent support and medical attention from our highly qualified OBGYN specialists. Our services are available to clients in Los Angeles, California, to help pregnant women receive a comprehensive immunization schedule to protect them from severe medical complications during pregnancy.
Understanding the Importance of Immunization for Pregnant Women
Since a pregnant woman's body experiences a significantly lower immune system than other adults, it becomes crucial to obtain all necessary immunization treatments before and during pregnancy.
The primary importance of getting vaccines before or during pregnancy is to build on the immunity, primarily because your baby takes on the body's immunity as well. Subsequently, any underlying viral infections that your body fails to fight off may quickly reach the unborn baby, leading to prenatal complications.
Moreover, a lack of proper immunization could lead to devastating outcomes that include stillbirths and congenital disabilities for your child. In this case, the baby may acquire long term health complications that may worsen with age. Your OB-GYN will encourage you to update your immunization treatments as a precautionary measure for you and your unborn baby's health to avoid all the possible adverse outcomes.
Usually, all adults should be up to date with their various immunization procedures. However, most people do not continue receiving immunization shots after childhood, based on a misconception that adults are less susceptible to certain infections.
Consequently, without professional guidance from an OB-GYN specialist, you may plan on getting pregnant without getting the required immunization administered to protect you and your unborn child.
Therefore, we recommend that women of childbearing age receive vaccines for various diseases before getting pregnant as routine medical treatment. In doing so, you will have boosted your immunity before getting pregnant, meaning that your unborn baby will be less likely to contract infections and other diseases that are preventable by obtaining a vaccine.
However, if you get pregnant in unexpected circumstances, several immunizations are available for you to prevent severe medical conditions during the pregnancy term.
However, it is essential to note that your doctor will limit the amount of medication and antibodies introduced to your body when pregnant at the baby's interest.
Hence, if you did not receive vaccines that are only available during pregnancy, your doctor may set you up on a different medical regimen and issue strict directives on keeping safe to avoid contracting the disease.
If you follow the doctor's orders correctly, you will have lower risks of suffering from the medical conditions, leading to a successful pregnancy term and healthy delivery.
Nevertheless, we recommend all women to keep up with receiving immunization before getting pregnant, especially if you and your partner have a well-structured plan on the exact time you intend to get pregnant.
Immunizations Available Before Pregnancy
Ideally, your medical routine should include receiving vaccines for different diseases, as recommended by a doctor. The follow up on immunization becomes even more critical when you start preparing to get pregnant.
Thus, it is essential to explain critical details like wanting to get pregnant to your OB-GYN, as the information guides the doctor to approve several medical tests and treatments.
For example, if your OB-GYN learns of your preparedness to get pregnant, he/she can issue directives to receive vaccinations well in advance. This way, the vaccination provides enhanced immunity during pregnancy to prevent emerging issues on serious health risks.
Moreover, with a specified timeline, the doctor can clear you for specific immunizations at a time. The timelines depend on the antibodies’ period to boost immunity, based on the vaccine you receive. Necessary vaccines to receive before pregnancy include:
Immunization Against Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a disease that affects the liver, causing inflammation and severe damage in adverse cases. A patient suffering from the condition may experience constant bowel pain, nausea, and fever, depending on the illness’s duration.
Usually, a person may contract Hepatitis B from different sources, as it is a viral disease. Thus, you may come into contact with the virus after having sex with an infected person. Body fluids like blood also contain contaminants that can spread the Hepatitis B virus to an uninfected person.
Also, sharing personal items like toothbrushes, combs, and needles opens up an infection window, as the virus can exist in the things for a reasonable period. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid sharing personal items with people you do not live with.
Nevertheless, even close relatives and loved ones may have contracted the disease but remained asymptomatic. If so, you want to take extra precautions, especially if you are already pregnant, to avoid contracting the Hepatitis B virus.
Moreover, a mother may transmit the virus to her baby during birth, primarily because the child is in contact with the mother's fluids throughout the birth procedure.
When the child contracts the virus, he/she is in danger of severe complications, mainly because of the relatively weaker immune system that newborns have. Consequently, an exposed infant may suffer from chronic illnesses accompanied by varying symptoms.
As a result, the pregnant woman must receive an immunization before getting pregnant, as the Hepatitis B vaccine is unsuitable during a pregnancy term. Hence, you need to get regular vaccines as listed in the immunization schedule, mostly if you plan on getting pregnant soon.
Despite the unavailability of a Hepatitis B vaccine during pregnancy, your baby will receive immunization within twelve hours after birth to ensure that the body is unexposed to the virus.
Additionally, as the mother, you can receive the immunization postpartum as soon as your OB-GYN clears you for the process. Obtaining the vaccine after giving birth is still essential for your newborn, as you will need high immunity boosts to transmit to the baby when breastfeeding.
The type of vaccine available for Hepatitis B is called the Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIG). Essentially, the vaccine contains antibodies from blood samples of people whose immunities have battled the infection and developed resistance against it.
With the introduction of HBIG into your bloodstream, your white blood cells develop new resistance to the Hepatitis B components that attack your body during infection. As a result, the antibodies are equipped with resistance against the virus and can, therefore, fight it off quickly.
Your medical professional will provide an elaborate plan that helps you understand the need for regular vaccinations, especially if you live in a region where the virus is common.
Chickenpox is a common disease that mostly affects the skin, causing itchy or painful spots that can last for days or weeks. Usually, chickenpox infections are very contagious and can cause severe outbreaks for people in close contact.
While most patients suffering from chickenpox experience external symptoms, the disease may become adverse and cause persistent fevers, feelings of fatigue and body weakness, and shivers.
The fever arises from your body's reaction to the viral infections, as it increases temperatures to kill the invasive viral infection. While the increase in body temperature is natural, pregnant women are more at risk of experiencing different symptoms.
For example, the womb conditions may become hostile for the unborn baby, leading to distress for the child and subsequent complications for the mother.
Hence, we recommend receiving a chickenpox vaccine to prevent adverse effects for the mother and baby. The Varicella vaccine is available for immunization against the disease.
Your OB-GYN will recommend receiving the vaccine at least one month before getting pregnant to allow your white blood cells to acclimatize to the introduced vaccine. Alternatively, you may receive the vaccine postpartum if you were unable to receive it before getting pregnant. During this period, it will be essential to receive the vaccine, as your child depends on it to boost the body’s immunity.
If you have suffered from chickenpox before, your body naturally builds immunity against the disease, meaning that you are very unlikely to contract it for a second time. If you have dealt with the coral infection before, a chickenpox vaccine will not be a top priority, based on your body’s resistance against the disease. However, it is crucial to remember that pregnancy may weaken your immune system significantly. Hence, precautionary measures may lead your doctor to prescribe immunity vaccines on top of other supplements that pregnant mothers need.
Vaccine for Rubella
Rubella is a disease associated with severe health complications, especially for an affected baby. While the United States has successfully ceased the transmission of the disease, a pregnant woman may still be at risk of contracting it, especially when in contact with a person from a region where the disease is still rampant. Additionally, if you are prone to traveling, you could expose yourself to higher risks of contracting the disease, which becomes dangerous for you and the baby.
Usually, Rubella gives rise to varying effects in an unborn baby. For example, the child may develop deafness during birth, based on complications that occur when the baby is still in the womb. Most cases of babies born deaf from a Rubella infection may be lifelong conditions, as the congenital disabilities affecting the child’s hearing ability may be irreversible.
Additionally, cases of children born with severe heart defects are familiar with Rubella infections. Most defects include holes in the heart or deformities with the heart structure that cause severe blood circulation complications. Consequently, the child mortality rate decreases significantly, with numerous medical procedures required to correct the heart defects for those who survive.
Also, a child affected by Rubella may have a damaged liver and spleen at birth, leading to dangerous complications that could cause early death or lifelong outcomes. With a damaged liver, the infant will experience difficulties eradicating toxins in the form of waste, among other helpful functions. The child may also suffer from chronic abdominal pain, leading to strong medication for the newborn.
Lastly, you may notice progressive intellectual disability from a child affected by Rubella. For example, the child may have difficulties learning and retaining new information and exhibit unusual behavior for children his/her age.
Apart from affecting the unborn child, Rubella can cause devastating effects on the mother as well, as most pregnancies have high risks of miscarriages or stillbirths. The miscarriage may occur at any trimester, with increased risk at the second and third trimester from the baby’s growth. A stillbirth may also occur, whereby the baby succumbs to the different medical complications before birth.
From the numerous birth complications that your child may experience from Rubella infection, it is, therefore, necessary to obtain a vaccine before getting pregnant for the best precautionary measures for you and your baby. Your doctor will recommend receiving the vaccine at least one month before getting pregnant for optimum immunity boosters. With the antibodies forming a resistance against Rubella, you will carry your pregnancy full term, with minimal conditions.
The MMR Vaccine
An MMR vaccine prevents mothers and unborn babies from Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. Usually, the vaccine administration includes one dose for all three infections. While the MMR vaccine protects against Rubella, it is crucial to note that this version contains weakened vaccines compared to the individual Rubella immunization treatment.
Hence, if you require a more potent vaccine against Rubella, we recommend taking the individual vaccination with more antibodies for your case. The additional conditions that the MMR vaccine works to prevent are measles and mumps.
People who contract measles experience a wide range of symptoms that could lead to extreme pain and discomfort. The most common symptom is muscles and joint pains that last throughout the infection. Also, muscle pain gives rise to extreme fatigue for the affected person, coupled with abdominal discomfort from diarrhea.
For pregnant women, measles’ risk also extends to risks that could cause miscarriages, based on the different symptoms that may be overwhelming to the baby's body. Moreover, the mother may experience preterm birth, with common childbirth cases at six to seven months.
While the doctor may work hard to stabilize the preterm baby's condition, the effects of premature birth can cause further complications that include weak immune systems.
On the other hand, mumps is a condition that affects your face and neck area, causing pain and inflammation in the affected area. Infants are highly susceptible to mumps, mostly because the child’s adults may not exhibit symptoms on the mother's body. Hence, the expectant mother may not suspect an underlying condition, exposing the child to the disease.
The viral disease creates immunity for patients who have already experienced the condition, meaning that a pregnant mother's immunity will be sufficient on the attenuated MMR vaccine.
With the single combination of one dose to immunize you against all three conditions, an MMR vaccine is vital for pre-pregnancy preparations to ensure that your child is healthy and safe throughout the term. Your doctor may recommend getting the MMR vaccine about three months before getting pregnant to allow your body's immune system to receive the boost.
Additionally, you can benefit from the MMR vaccine postpartum, meaning after having your child. The precautionary measure is beneficial to prevent future infections, as you will be in close contact with the baby during the early stages of life. Hence, it becomes necessary to protect your child from exposure to the different viruses that may cause more adverse effects on infants.
Immunization Available During Pregnancy
When you become expectant, you are eligible to receive several immunization vacancies to maintain your health. The vaccinations become available mostly during specific periods when the diseases in interest become rampant.
During your clinic appointments, your OB-GYN will keep records of different supplements and vaccines you have received so far to prepare you for the immunization schedule during the pregnancy. The two primary vaccines available for pregnant women are:
A Vaccine for Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis
Scientists developed a vaccine to fight off Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (TDP vaccine) that doctors should administer as three doses. Usually, everyone should receive the TDP vaccinations at birth and six to twelve months after birth.
However, after completing immunization as a child, you may forget to keep up with your vaccine schedule, meaning that you will not have sufficient immunization against an adult’s conditions. Upon being pregnant, your body’s immunity will drop significantly and could lead to contracting infections quicker than when you are not pregnant.
Among the three infections, Pertussis or whooping cough is the most common disease to contract without proper immunization. Hence, your OB-GYN will advise you to receive the vaccine between your second and third trimester for the best immunity boost.
The Pertussis vaccine ( TDap vaccine) should be available to the pregnant mother despite receiving a recent TDP immunization treatment. If you follow your doctor's recommendations, you will save your unborn child from high risks of whooping cough, a condition that may exhibit similar symptoms as the common cold.
While most whooping cough cases are manageable with home care, infants will have a more difficult time with the disease, as they are entirely dependent on the parent to provide care. Thus, the immunization will save you from stressful situations after having the child, for better growth and development.
Flu Shot Immunization
Lastly, you need to consider getting flu shots, as they are available at any stage of your pregnancy. Most people undermine flu as a manageable condition and therefore undervalue the importance of getting immunization against the disease.
However, if you are pregnant or plan to, receiving a flu shot is essential for you and your baby. Expectant mothers who suffer from flu during pregnancy terms are likely to face adverse medical complications that result in hospitalization for observation and stabilization.
Additionally, the medication available for flu management may not be suitable for your unborn child. Hence, you may experience limited options to eradicate the condition, leading to longer durations of illness. To avoid the harrowing experience, we recommend consulting your doctor, who will provide the flu shot as required.
We also advise you to remain conscious of when flu becomes rampant in your area. Often, flu cases increase as winter approaches. Therefore, you want to receive a flu shot before the period sets in for optimum protection against the flu.
Contact a Women’s Medical Care Provider Near Me
Your body’s immunity is crucial for your unborn child’s development during pregnancy, as the baby receives your antibodies to develop an independent body immunity. Subsequently, as an expectant mother, you need to obtain all the vaccines required before and during pregnancy to safeguard your unborn baby.
Additionally, receiving immunization will save you the stress and turmoil that comes after giving birth, especially when the infant has underlying conditions caused by different avoidable medical conditions. For the best assistance in getting your immunizations before and during a pregnancy term, we recommend consulting an OB-GYN in a trusted women’s care facility. This way, you will obtain reliable information based on your medical history and physical requirements.
At All Women’s Care, we dedicate our services to women in Los Angeles, California, aiming to provide the best medical care in the field of reproductive health. With our years of experience in providing medical support and care to pregnant women, you can count on us to deliver a helpful immunization plan before, during, and after having a baby. To get started with us, give us a call today at 213-250-9461.