Vaccination before pregnancy
All ready to start a family, are you? Well, do get yourself screened for Rubella, Chicken Pox and Hepatitis B, as these illnesses that can be prevented by vaccine before you get pregnant.
Rubella, or German Measles, is often not serious and only lasts three days. However, it can cause serious problems to your foetus if you are diagnosed with rubella while being pregnant. There is 90% of a chance of passing the infection from a pregnant mother to the unborn child in the first trimester. If so, the baby, upon birth will be diagnosed with Congenital Rubella Syndrome which can lead to congenital heart disease, cataract and blindness.
If that has gotten you worried about any child you may have in the future, well, relax. Here, parents are usually encouraged to give their babies the MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) injection when the baby turns 12 months old. In 2006, the Ministry of Health warned that a lower-than-95-percent vaccination rate could lead to a possible outbreak of measles, a childhood disease with a death rate of 3 per thousand.
Ugh, the dreaded itching, scratching and scars. That whole package, though not serious, is something that we detested back in the past even though it meant missing a couple of weeks of school. Do you really want to go through that, even though you’re older now? Take a blood test to check if you are immune to the virus. If you are not, then get vaccinated.
How common is chicken pox in pregnant women? Pretty uncommon. If it does occur, most of the time, there will be no serious side effects. However, that is not to say it’s a definite no. Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said chickenpox could damage brain development in the foetus during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Here’s an interesting titbit. If a pregnant woman has had chickenpox before the pregnancy, the baby will be protected from infection for the first few months of life, since the mother’s immunity gets passed on to the baby through the placenta and breast milk.
Hep B, a liver infection, is contagious and can be passed through sexual contact or by exposing yourself to infected body fluids such as saliva. If you’re pregnant and infected with Hep B, the virus can be transmitted to the baby during pregnancy or delivery. To prevent this, the newborn should be vaccinated with Hep B vaccine and anti-bodies immediately after delivery. Doing so, you can breastfeed your newborn even if you carry the virus. Overwhelming, isn’t it? Take the easy way out and check yourself before you conceive.
Tip: If you are aware of not being vaccinated for the above illnesses, it is important to do so at least three months before your pregnancy!
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