Pregnancy & Birth

Safe vaccinations to have before and during pregnancy

The best protection against serious diseases for you and bub.

By Rebel Wylie
Vaccine preventable diseases pose a serious risk to those who don't have the protection of vaccination.
Immunisation is a simple and effective way to offer both you and your baby protection from potentially dangerous infections during pregnancy.
While pregnant, your immune system is naturally weaker than it would normally be, leaving you susceptible to certain infections. Taking some precautions, checking your vaccine status and having boosters when necessary will ensure that you and your baby are afforded the best protection possible.
Not all vaccinations are safe during pregnancy. It's advised that you check if you have protection against diseases that may pose a risk to you or your unborn baby before falling pregnant where possible.
Speak with your healthcare provider to get up to date with routine immunisations such as tetanus and polio if you are planning on becoming pregnant.
In addition women planning on becoming pregnant should have immunity against hepatits B, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.
If you were unable to have these vaccines before pregnancy, speak with your healthcare provider about having them during pregnancy, as not all vaccines are safe during pregnancy.
It is recommended that you have any remaining vaccinations as soon as possible after the baby is born. All vaccines are safe to be given to breastfeeding mothers.
Vaccinations for influenza and pertussis (whooping cough) are safe and recommended in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Influenza and pertussis vaccines are the only vaccines recommended for women during pregnancy. (Image: Getty Images)
The following information on vaccine preventable diseases comes from Health Direct.

Vaccinations to have before pregnancy

Measles, mumps and rubella: Rubella infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. If you were born after 1966, you may need a booster vaccination for full protection. This should be done in consultation with your doctor. It is recommended that you wait four weeks after receiving this vaccine before trying to get pregnant.
Chickenpox (varicella): Chickenpox infection during pregnancy can cause severe illness in you and your unborn baby. A simple blood test can determine if you have immunity to this infection. If you are not protected, speak to your doctor about receiving two doses of the vaccine for full immunity. It is recommended that you wait four weeks after receiving this vaccine before trying to get pregnant.
Pneumococcal: Protection against serious illness caused by pneumococcal disease is recommended for smokers and people with chronic heart, lung or kidney disease, or diabetes.
Travel vaccinations: Vaccines that are required to travel to other countries are not always recommended during pregnancy. Find out more about travel and pregnancy.
WATCH: Immunisation information by Bounty.

Safe vaccinations during pregnancy

Influenza and pertussis vaccines are the only vaccines recommended for women during pregnancy.
Whooping cough (pertussis): Whooping cough can cause serious illness and even death in babies less than six months old. It is now recommended that all pregnant women receive a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination during their third trimester (ideally at 28 weeks). A combination of antibodies being passed through the mother's bloodstream and the reduced risk of the mother contracting the disease makes this an ideal time to administer the vaccine. Most states now offer the pertussis vaccination for free. Speak to your doctor or antenatal care provider to schedule an appointment.
Flu (influenza): Influenza can cause serious illness and being pregnant increases the risk of flu complications, with the risk to pregnant women of serious complications up to five times higher than normal. Because of this, the flu vaccine is recommended and funded for all pregnant women.
The influenza vaccine is safe and can be administered before, during or after pregnancy. Getting vaccinated every year protects you against new strains of the virus and also reduces the risk of spreading influenza to your baby, who are also at higher risk of complications if they do get flu. Getting the flu vaccine during your pregnancy will also provide ongoing protection to your newborn for the first six months after birth.