Vaccines given before, during and after pregnancy offer a safe and effective way to protect you and your child from certain diseases. We offer a range of vaccinations recommended by the Irish health authorities for women during this important time. If you have any worries or questions about vaccinations you and your baby may require, please contact reception and make an appointment to see your Doctor or Nurse.
The MMR vaccine
The MMR vaccine is a combined vaccine that is a safe and effective way to protect you against measles (M), mumps (M) and rubella (R) in one single injection. Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious diseases that can cause serious, and potentially fatal complications such as meningitis, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and deafness. During pregnancy, rubella can lead to serious complications affecting the unborn baby including deafness, blindness, brain damage or heart disease. It some cases, it can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.
The MMR vaccine is given in two doses. The first dose is given as part of the childhood immunisation schedule at 12 months, and the second dose is given at four/five years of age as part of the school immunisation programme.
Please link childhood immunisation schedule to said section in children’s health
Please link school immunisation schedule to said section in children’s health
If you are unsure you have received both doses of the vaccine, we can check your immunity and advise if an MMR vaccination is necessary.
The MMR vaccine is not suitable for women who are pregnant. The MMR is a live vaccine – avoid pregnancy for one month following vaccination.
Vaccines given during pregnancy are a safe and effective way to protect you and your child from certain diseases. They help to protect your baby during the first few weeks of life as the immunity you develop against the disease passes onto your baby in your womb.
Vaccines recommended in pregnancy
The flu is a highly infectious and acute respiratory (breathing) illness that is caused by the influenza virus. It affects people of all ages and commonly occurs during the winter months. The flu (influenza) vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect you from the influenza virus.
Getting the flu while pregnant increases your chance of developing complications, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. A common complication of the flu during pregnancy is bronchitis, a chest infection that could lead to pneumonia. Less common complications include:
- otitis media (middle ear infection),
- septic shock (blood infection that causes a severe drop in blood pressure),
- meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord), and
- encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
It can also lead to premature birth and smaller babies, and may even lead to stillbirth or death during the first week of life.
The flu vaccine changes every year to protect against the strain of flu virus going around that year. It can be given to you safely at any time during pregnancy and poses no risk to women who are breastfeeding, or to their babies. Flu vaccination during pregnancy also provides immunity against the flu virus to babies in the first six months of life.
Whooping Cough Vaccine
The whooping cough (pertussis) vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect your child from getting whooping cough during the first few weeks of life. Whooping cough is a highly contagious illness that can be life-threatening. Young babies (under six months old) with whooping cough are often hospitalised with severe complications such as pneumonia or brain damage. You can help your baby by getting vaccinated from weeks 27 to 36 of your pregnancy. This vaccination will maximise your baby’s protection against whooping cough from birth.
We protect against the whooping cough with the Tdap vaccine – tetanus (T), diphtheria (d) and acellular pertussis (ap) booster vaccine which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. It is given in one single injection. The immunity you get from the vaccination will be passed onto your baby in the womb and will provide passive protection until they are old enough to be vaccinated against the whooping cough at two months old, as part of the childhood immunisation schedule. Please link childhood immunisation schedule to that section
If you miss having the vaccination for any reason, you can still have it up until you go into labour, although your baby is less likely to get protection from you. Having the vaccination at this stage protects you from getting whooping cough and passing it onto your baby.
Women should vaccinate against whooping cough during each pregnancy as immunity to whooping cough can decrease over time.
Whooping Cough Vaccine
Vaccination against whooping cough can also be of value after delivery as it can protect you from catching whooping cough and passing it onto your baby. However, the greatest benefit to your baby remains in getting vaccinated during your pregnancy. If you vaccinate against whooping cough after your baby is born, you cannot pass antibodies to them for protection in their first few months.
During pregnancy, your immunity to rubella is regularly checked by your Doctor. If we find you are not immune to Rubella, the MMR vaccine is recommended. Although MMR vaccine is safe to give while you are breastfeeding, it is a live vaccine and pregnancy must be avoided for one month following vaccination.
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