As ob-gyns, we know the important role that vaccination plays in the health of mother and baby. It is one of our best options in reducing their chances of morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases. Additionally, vaccination helps prevents the spread of certain infectious diseases.
The fall is usually when we start reminding women to get their annual flu vaccine, especially if they are pregnant. However, recent reports of whooping cough (pertussis) and measles exposure underscore the need to discuss other vaccinations with our patients. August is National Immunization Awareness Month and a great time to talk to your pregnant patients about immunization.
We can help increase vaccination rates during pregnancy since it’s a time when we see our patients more regularly. I encourage you to use these more frequent visits with patients as an opportunity to discuss the benefits of immunization with your patients. There are a lot of benefits for pregnant women who decide to get immunized, a few you can share with your patient follow:
- Pregnant women and infants are hit especially hard by disease outbreaks.
- Vaccination during pregnancy not only provides protection to the mother but also their baby since most vaccines cannot be administered to infants until they are about six months old.
- Many vaccines are safe for pregnant women. Vaccines to prevent the seasonal influenza (flu) virus and pertussis (whooping cough) are recommended for pregnant women because of the high risk those diseases pose to infants. The Tdap vaccine for pertussis also protects against tetanus and diphtheria.
So, don’t wait for flu season, this month counsel your patients to protect themselves and their babies. Learn more on ACOG’s Immunization for Women website.