Immunization is an important part of care for women attempting to conceive and there are many misconceptions about this topic. What women need to know about contagious diseases and vaccination while attempting to conceive.
- Influenza Vaccination: Influenza continues to be serious threat in Massachusetts. Influenza vaccination is very important for women attempting to conceive. This can be given at any time in the infertility treatment, even in early pregnancy .Pregnant women are at greater risk of severe illness and even death from the flu. The fetus is also at greater risk for congenital anomalies, miscarriage, preterm birth, and low birth weight. All women attempting to conceive should receive the flu vaccine.
- Tdap Vaccine: Prevents Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis can be given while a patient is attempting to conceive and can be given safely during pregnancy . In fact, ACOG recommends that all women receive the Tdap vaccination between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation. This vaccination provides protection for the fetus and newborn from contracting any of these diseases by transfer of protective antibodies across the placenta.
- Vaccines for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Pneumococcus and Meningococcus in high risk populations can be given while attempting to conceive and throughout the pregnancy
- The vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella (German measles), also known as the MMR vaccine is contraindicated while actively attempting to conceive and during pregnancy. Also, the vaccination for varicella (Chicken Pox) should not be given while attempting to conceive or during pregnancy. On the other hand, it is important that all women show immunity to rubella or varicella, or receive these vaccines prior to attempting to conceive.Women who receive these vaccinations must wait at least 1 month prior to attempting to conceive. The varicella vaccine involves 2 injections 1 month apart.
- A final topic is Zika virus. Exposure to the Zika virus in early pregnancy remains a great concern due to the severe malformations seen in offspring of mothers who have been exposed to this virus. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for this virus. Women attempting to conceive should avoid travel to areas of the world with the Zika virus, this includes most of the Caribbean, South America, India and Southeast Asia. All areas in the USA are free of zika virus. Please see the CDC website for areas to avoid.Women who have travelled to these areas must wait 2 months to conceive and men who have travelled to these areas must wait 3 months to conceive.
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