Pregnancy also referred to as the roller coaster of emotions and hormones is a time when the pregnant lady looks for being pampered and it is always suggested that she should be happy and fit. Apart from this, one should also be vigilant about what to eat, things to avoid, and follow the doctor’s instructions. With a plethora of changes that take place inside the body, the lady can be vulnerable to many diseases which could be harmful to both the mother and the developing baby as well. One very common of them being tetanus that the fetus can get as well and could even prove to be fatal if not treated and cured at the right time.
Let us the ways to prevent it for the mother as well as the baby, vaccinations to be taken during pregnancy, its process of administration and before as well, the recommendations for the first and second pregnancy, etc.
The Tetanus disease is one fatal condition that is due to a bacterium which is toxic as well. In case the expectant mother gets infected with these bacteria, it can easily get transmitted to the baby. It could penetrate from the lightest of scratch or the deepest of wounds, a bite, skin burns, etc. Once it enters the body, it generates toxins in blood harming the neural system proving to be lethal if not cured at the right time.
The period of incubation for the bacterium could be between 3-21 days. Following are the symptoms that should be looked to diagnose if one has tetanus and they are as below:
- Contractions in the muscles present in the jaw
- Neck stiffness
- Fractures in the spine
- Stiffness of the muscles in the abdominal area
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Others as fever, increased heart rate, sweating, tiredness, high blood pressure, etc.
This can be prevented by vaccination easily and the antibodies from the vaccination that enter the expectant mother also offer protection to the developing baby as well and this continues even for few months after the baby is born.
Tetanus affecting the newborn baby is an acute life-threatening condition which is due to the usage of not clean and sterilized instruments or umbilical cord nubbins. The babies get infected only if the mother has not been immunized since no immunity gets passed from the mother. It is thus mandatory for the mother to be vaccinated for the TT Vaccine.
Tetanus Toxoid Vaccination During Pregnancy
Maximum countries across the world have a standard immunization schedule to be followed for the mother for (TT) immunization. All the women who did not undergo a safe abortion process and the ones who have been disposed to a tetanus wound should certainly get the TT vaccination for preventing any threats. It is important to even administer the TT vaccines in all rural areas as the people are not aware of its consequences and those are the places where maximum deliveries happen but under hazardous circumstances.
Before Administering the Vaccine
It is important to shake the flask or the ampoule that has the vaccination strongly in order for the residues to settle with the fluid in it. It is a compulsion so that the residues get properly mixed with the liquid. A shake test is compulsory to ensure that the flask, bottle or the ampoule is not destroyed after being kept in the freezer and then thawed to be used. It is not advisable to use any that have been frozen for a while.
Administering Tetanus Toxoid Vaccine
The Tetanus Toxoid Vaccine is important but more important is to know the correct schedule to be followed. Given below is a table that is suitable for the vaccination of pregnant women and is strongly advocated by The ACOG, This immunization can only be administered after the proper screening of the medical reports is done.
There are few situations and they can be discussed as under:
- In case the expectant mother has never got herself vaccinated previously or in case the results of immunization are unclear, two dosages of Tetanus Toxoid/Td should be administered for the first month prior to delivery and the other doses in accordance with the table as given below.
- In case the expectant mother has already had 1 to 4 TT dosages before, the remaining dose of TT/Td should be administered before delivery.
First Pregnancy Recommendations
The vaccination of Tetanus Toxoid is important but there are a different set of recommendations depending if one is carrying for the first time or the second time. The doctor will suggest two doses of the vaccine in case it is the first pregnancy and the rest as suggested below:
- The initial or the start-up dosage should be administered in the last trimester, after the end of the sixth month or later.
- The second to be given four weeks succeeding the first one.
- The World Health Organization also suggests another dose that should be given six months from the second one and to ensure safety and protection from tetanus for the coming five years.
- There are some doctors that recommend three dosages, first starting about 28 weeks and the others are of the view to administer the same during the first three months of pregnancy or once all tests are positive.
Second Pregnancy Recommendations
In the case of the second pregnancy, the doctor screens the previous medical history, the immunization schedule and then offer recommendation likewise. The following are the doses that are recommended for a second-time mother:
- In case the pregnancy is in the period of two years from the first one and two dosages have already been given in the first one, only one dosage is recommended during the second time.
- In case the pregnancy takes place after a lapse of a few years, the immunization schedule differs, and the medical health provider will evaluate and offer recommendations on the same.
- In case one gets injured or meets with an accident then one does not need any shots. The vaccination which is given before starts producing antibodies which offer protection against any infections. Simultaneously, one should check with the doctor once hurt, injured, etc.
Thus, where at one place the TT vaccine gives the required shield and safety for the baby and by transmitting antibodies from the expectant mother, it becomes even significant to note that the process of delivery that takes place should be under safe, clean and hygienic conditions to be able to prevent the maternal as well as the baby getting affected by tetanus bacterium. Pregnancy is a tough phase for the mother and the baby, so we should administer the right vaccines at the right time to protect the mother and the baby against all odds and keep them healthy and happy.