Couples feel that a natural progression to their relationship is having a baby; it may be as early as within a year of togetherness or after twenty years in a relationship. The number of years does not matter but the level of preparedness does and a couple that is ready to bring a new life in the world needs to ensure that they are healthy and ready to head on into the pregnancy.
The eagerness of the couple ensures that the couple prepares themselves for the impending pregnancy. To be ready for conceiving a baby and to be in good health it is equally relevant that the couple gets all the vaccinations that would prevent them from getting any preventable diseases and passing them out to the foetus.
Vaccines help protect against illnesses during pregnancy that can harm the impending birth and the baby as well. Couples who are planning on conceiving should talk to their physician about the vaccinations that are required; the doctor will also conduct a blood test that will reveal the immunity and need for the vaccination against the following diseases:
- Varicella (Common Name: Chicken Pox): Chicken pox is a highly contagious disease generally contacted in childhood. The disease is caused by the varicella zoster virus and causes rash and lacerations on the body. For those who have dealt with the pock virus in their childhood it is actually beneficial as they carry the immunity to the virus. But for those who have not caught chicken pox as a kid, vaccination is essential before conceiving as the virus can be potentially serious in pregnancy. The virus can also cause harm to the fetus. In case the blood profile done by the doctor reveals that the mother is not immune to the virus then two doses of the vaccination will be administered at an interval of eight weeks and trying to conceive should be held off for a month after that to avoid any harmful strain in the blood stream.
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR): Also known as German measles, rubella causes flu like symptoms accompanied by a rash on the face, abdomen, back and limbs. For an expectant mother, to contact Rubella within 20 weeks of pregnancy means that the foetus may be eventually born with birth defects and other complications like CRS. Getting a shot for MMR during preconception helps and at least a gap of a month should be given before trying to conceive again.
- Tetanus, Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis (Tdap): Vaccination against tetanus is of primary importance in countries like India where the disease is rampant through the tetanus toxin. Tetanus is a serious disease with symptoms like lockjaw, stiffness and high fevers; it is especially serious for pregnant women. This vaccine comes with a combination of immunization against diphtheria and pertussis also.
- Hepatitis B: another very important vaccination is for immunization against sexually transmitted disease Hep B. Hepatitis B is more prevalent in developing countries and is a viral infection of the liver that can cause prematurity in the new born. The vaccine is given in three parts preferably a month apart each and is harmless if given during pregnancy.