Your Pregnancy: Protecting Baby Starts Now
(Newton, NJ) National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder that we all need vaccines throughout our lives. The Sussex County Division of Health, Office of Public Health Nursing is joining with partners nationwide to celebrate the importance of immunizations for a healthy start and throughout our lives by recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.
From the moment you found out you were pregnant, you started protecting your developing baby. You might have changed the way you ate, started taking a prenatal vitamin, or started researching the kind of car seat you would purchase. Did you know that one of the best ways to start protecting your developing baby against serious diseases is by making sure you receive the whooping cough (Tdap) and flu vaccines while you are pregnant?
Vaccines received during pregnancy will provide a developing baby with some disease protection (immunity) that will last the first months of life after birth. Vaccinations during pregnancy can help pass antibodies to a baby that may help protect against diseases. This early protection is critical for diseases like the flu and whooping cough because babies in the first several months of life are at the greatest risk of severe illness from these diseases. Since babies are too young to be vaccinated themselves, passing maternal antibodies on to an unborn child is the only way to help directly protect them.
Doctors have often identified mothers as the source of spreading whooping cough to their infants. Once protected by the Tdap vaccine, you are less likely to give whooping cough to your newborn while caring for him or her.
When it comes to the flu, even if you are generally healthy, changes in immune, heart, and lung functions during pregnancy make you more likely to have a severe case of the flu if you catch it. Those who contract the flu while pregnant also have a higher chance of experiencing pregnancy complications, such as premature labor and delivery. The flu vaccine will help protect you and your baby while you are pregnant.
Expectant mothers should receive a whooping cough vaccine between the 27th and 36th week of pregnancy. Flu shots can be administered during any trimester. Whooping cough and flu vaccines can be administered at the same time during pregnancy or at different visits. Those who are pregnant during the flu season should receive a flu vaccine soon after the vaccine becomes available.
The Office of Public Health Nursing offers many scheduled flu vaccination clinics. Appointments are required. The fee for a flu vaccine is $20.00. The Tdap vaccine is also offered at the Office of Public Health Nursing during Health Check Clinics for a fee of $35.00. Please call for appointment dates and times. Those who are uninsured should inquire about free vaccines. These clinic services are available on site at the Sussex County Division of Health, Office of Public Health Nursing, 201 Wheatsworth Road, Hamburg, NJ.
To learn more about pregnancy and vaccines, talk to your ob-gyn or midwife and visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/pregnant.html . Information can also be obtained by contacting the Sussex County Division of Health, Office of Public Health Nursing at 973-579-0570 or visiting the website at www.sussex.nj.us/nursing.
Sussex County Office of Public Health Nursing
201 Wheatsworth Road
Hamburg, NJ 07419