a young pregnant woman receiving a vaccination in her upper arm

Vaccines are a part of many well-child visits. But they also should
be part of the care moms-to-be receive to protect their unborn children.

“When we take care of pregnant patients, we’re really taking care of two patients: mom and baby. We know that pregnant women are more susceptible to, and can get more ill from, certain illnesses, so it’s important for moms-to-be to understand why certain immunizations are so important,” says Dr. Tina Ardon, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician.

Watch: Dr. Tina Ardon talks about vaccines.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Tina Ardon are in the downloads. Please “Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.”

A recent report by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention indicated that many pregnant women are not receiving vaccines
for the flu and whooping cough. The lack of protection can have significant
consequences for moms-to-be and their unborn children, says Dr. Ardon.

“Pregnant
patients are at greater risk for hospitalization from influenza infections and have a higher
rate of complications,” she says.

The flu
vaccine is recommended during any trimester for a woman who is pregnant during
flu season.

Whooping cough is a highly
contagious – and preventable – respiratory
illness, a hallmark of which is a severe cough that leaves a person
gasping for air. Also known as pertussis, after the bacteria that cause the
infection, the cough can last several weeks to months.

“Infants
and younger children are at the highest risk for complications associated with
pertussis, including apnea, pneumonia and, at worse, death,” says Dr.
Ardon.

She adds that nearly half of all babies under 1 in the U.S. who have pertussis end up being treated in the hospital. Complications are most serious for babies under 6 months.

“Vaccinating
our moms-to-be gives the mom a chance to pass on antibodies to her baby to
protect against pertussis even before birth.”

Typically,
infants and children get five doses of the vaccine between the ages of 2 months
and 6 years, a booster around 11 or 12 years, and then one more booster as an
adult. Pregnant women should get a booster during every pregnancy in the
earliest part of the third trimester.

Dr.
Ardon recommends that expectant moms talk to their health care provider if they
have questions. “It is important for all adults, as well as older
children, including adolescents, to be vaccinated, so we can help protect
though smallest patients,” says Dr. Ardon.



Source link