Why take vaccinations before pregnancy?

Keeping up to date with vaccinations can help prevent diseases that are harmful to both mother and child.

In the worst case scenarios, not having vaccinations could lead to birth defects that are not easily picked up on ultrasound, miscarriages or even chronic illnesses in your child.

If you intend to get pregnant, do ensure that you take these vaccinations and protect yourself and Baby from:

MMR or Measles, Mumps and Rubella

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), measles is a serious disease which caused 122,000 deaths, mostly of children, globally in 2012. MMR or Measles, Mumps and Rubella is a combination vaccine which protects children against measles as well as the infectious diseases mumps and rubella (german measles).

Chicken pox (Varicella)

If chicken pox occurs in the first trimester, the baby could have multiple birth defects such as scarring on the skin, abnormalities in limbs, brain and eyes, and low birth weight.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a serious infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is the cause for 60 to 70 per cent of liver cancers. Hepatitis B is usually asymptomatic in infected infants and children but an infected child has a 90 per cent chance of becoming a hep B carrier as an adult.

Flu

Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing complications from the flu. According to Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Head and Senior Consultant, Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the influenza virus itself has not been shown to cause birth defects. However, having a high fever during the first trimester may increase the chance for birth defects such as spina bifida. In the second and third trimester, it may impair the growth of the foetus. Therefore, it is good to get vaccinated from the flu even while pregnant.

When to take these vaccinations?

If you don't have immunity to these conditions, do set aside some time (approximately 3 months before conception) as certain vaccine courses such as Hepatitis B require a longer period of completion and are safer to be given in a non-pregnant state.