Pregnancy is a period of immense joy coupled with excitement, but then you need to be extremely cautious too. Immunological changes during pregnancy make you highly vulnerable to certain infectious diseases that may potentially harm the fetus.
Why do you need vaccination during pregnancy?
As your immune system tends to be slightly lower during pregnancy, the likelihood of encountering a disease is high. Vaccination during pregnancy prevents that and is a simple and effective way to ensure proper health of the mother and baby.
Maternal immunization provides:
- Health benefits to both pregnant women and fetus
- Strengthen the immune systems
- Can fight off serious infectious diseases
- Infectious complications can be prevented
- Improve pregnancy outcomes
What are the safe vaccines during pregnancy?
Indicated only for those who are susceptible for this infection (To be discussed with your doctor, if you are planning for this).
- Hepatitis B virus
- Tetanus bacteria
- Influenza virus
Why is Tetanus Toxoid (TT) injection indicated during pregnancy?
We all at some point or the other, due to an injury, have had to take a tetanus toxoid (TT) injection. Tetanus is a life-threatening disease, caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria, with has no cure but is easily preventable with the TT vaccine.
The main reason you would be advised to get a TT injection during pregnancy is to prevent you and your baby from getting a tetanus infection.
What happens in a tetanus infection?
Tetanus can affect both the child (neonatal tetanus) and the mother (maternal tetanus) and may lead to a lot of complications.
- Mode of spread: Occurs due to umbilical cord contamination by the usage of unsterilized cutting instruments.
- Babies are affected as no immunity passes from mother who has not been immunized.
- Symptoms: Inability to suck breast milk, muscle stiffness all over the body, muscle spasm when touched
- Mode of spread: Tetanus bacteria are common in soil and dust, enter your body through an open wound.
- Tetanus toxin enters the blood, attacks the nervous system and can lead to death if not treated on time.
- Symptoms: Contractions of the jaw muscles/ lockjaw, stiffness in the neck, abdominal muscles, spinal fractures and difficulty in swallowing.
So, how does vaccination help?
Tetanus toxoid or vaccine is an inactive vaccine, used to prevent Tetanus infection and is given intramuscularly or subcutaneously. This can fight off infectious bacterium by directly protecting the fetus through transferred antibodies from mother to fetus.
National immunization schedule for pregnant women in India:
|Vaccine||When to get|
|TT-1||Early in pregnancy|
|TT-2||4 weeks after TT-1|
|TT- Booster||Pregnant within 3 years of last pregnancy with both doses of TT|
What are the precautions to be taken?
If and when you take a TT shot, your doctor will ensure that the vial is recent (not expired) and untampered. The doctor then shakes the vial to ensure proper mixing.
Before injection: Site of injection should be clean and bruise/injury free.
Post-injection: Site of the injection can be painful after TT shot. To relieve the pain, and reduce any swelling, apply an ice pack to the site of the injection.
If you have been asked to get a TT injection, speak to your doctor and clear your apprehensions. That way you may be able to put your mind at ease. And no matter what the reason may be – never self medicate. Always seek medical advise whenever you are in doubt.