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Pregnancy Vaccinations

Vaccinations help prevent serious illness from vaccine-preventable diseases. They are vital in ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy for you and your baby.

What are pre-pregnancy vaccinations?

During your pre-pregnancy screening, your obstetrician  will check if you are up to date with your vaccinations. If you are not, you are strongly advised to get vaccinated as contracting these vaccine-preventable diseases can have an adverse effect on you and your baby. 

These pre-pregnancy vaccines are:

  • Rubella 
  • Chicken pox
  • Hepatitis B

However, these vaccines are not recommended during pregnancy and should be given before or after delivery.


What are pregnancy vaccinations?

The Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore, follows the international guidelines with regards to two vaccines that are recommended for pregnant women: the influenza vaccine and pertussis vaccine.

Pregnant women are more prone to severe illnesses as their immune systems are weakened to accommodate the pregnancy. This can result in an increased risk of morbidity and mortality from the disease. However, vaccines can help protect you and your baby against serious illness.

healthy pregnancy

How do pregnancy vaccinations work?

Influenza and pertussis are highly contagious illnesses that can cause serious complications if you contract them during pregnancy or if your baby contracts them at a very young age before they have a chance to get vaccinated themselves. 

Complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, seizures, apnoea, and death, can occur due to these vaccine-preventable illnesses. Fortunately, vaccines given during pregnancy can protect you and provide a passive protection to babies before they are born. 

  • Influenza vaccine: inactivated flu vaccine is safe to take anytime during your pregnancy. It is administered as a single dose and is updated yearly as the influenza virus mutates. It provides passive protection to your baby via the trans-placental transmission of antibodies.
  • Pertussis vaccine:  also known as dTap or Tdap, is administered as a single dose between weeks 16-32 of pregnancy. It provides protection against pertussis/whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria. It also provides passive protection to your baby via the trans-placental transmission of antibodies.

What are the benefits of pregnancy vaccinations?

The immunity of pregnant women is weakened in order to accommodate the pregnancy. This makes them not only more vulnerable to infections but also at risk of more severe illness. 

Hence, vaccinations for pregnant women are important and have many benefits such as:

  • Increased protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Decreased likelihood to develop severe illness.
  • Passive protection for babies as antibodies are passed to them through the placenta.
  • Protects the pregnancy by preventing  complications if you contract any of these vaccine-preventable diseases.

What should I expect after the pregnancy vaccinations?

As with most vaccinations, you may experience some side effects, such as:

  • Tenderness or mild swelling at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

These side effects usually appear soon after the shot, last for 1-2 days, and go away on their own. If they last longer, make an appointment to see your obstetrician to have a quick checkup.

What are the possible complications or risks of pregnancy vaccinations?

Pregnancy vaccinations (influenza and pertussis vaccines) are safe procedures that have been approved by the MOH Singapore and other government health agencies around the world; very rarely do people experience complications such as an allergic reaction which may result in anaphylaxis shock after the vaccination.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What vaccines should I NOT get during pregnancy?
    There are some vaccines that are NOT recommended during pregnancy, these are:
    -- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
    -- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine
    -- Chicken pox vaccine
    These vaccines should be  given before you conceive or after you have given birth.
  2. If I had the flu vaccine and the pertussis vaccine before, must I get it again?
    Yes. It is encouraged to get both vaccinations each time you get pregnant, not only to ensure you have a good antibody response to these viruses, but more importantly to ensure that your baby gets the passive protection from the antibody transfer through the placenta.
  3. When can I get vaccinated with the other non-pregnancy safe vaccines?
    You should get vaccinated at least 3 months before conception. Make an appointment for a pre-pregnancy screening to check if you are up to date with your vaccines. If you are not, ensure you get yourself vaccinated to protect against complications should you contract those vaccine-preventable diseases.

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#09-08 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
Singapore 228510

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