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April 27, 2018

Did you know that immunising during pregnancy can help protect you and your baby from whooping cough and influenza? Immunisation is safe and it’s recommended by your midwife, health professionals and the Ministry of Health

As parents, it’s natural that you want to do everything you can to help protect your unborn baby. The good news is, immunisation during pregnancy is one of the most effective ways to help protect both mum and baby against the risk of influenza and whooping cough.

Once you’ve been immunised, you pass your protection on to your baby naturally, decreasing the chances of your newborn getting these diseases when they’re born. This helps protect newborn babies during the first few weeks of life, when they are most vulnerable, and supports their immunity until they are old enough to be immunised themselves.

What immunisations are recommended during pregnancy?

Influenza immunisation is recommended during any stage of pregnancy. The best time to get vaccinated is in autumn, before the winter peak of the disease arrives.

Pregnant women and their unborn babies are most at risk of serious complications from influenza. It can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth and babies being born too early or too small.

Whooping cough immunisation is free between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy and is recommended during each pregnancy as protection can wear off over time.

Babies who are not yet immunised are at greatest risk of whooping cough. They are often unable to feed or breathe properly so become very ill and often need hospital treatment. Getting immunised while you’re pregnant means your baby is protected as soon as they’re born.

Whooping cough is one of the leading causes of death among babies and young children globally. It’s still common in New Zealand, with regular outbreaks affecting our communities. Since the beginning of 2018, more than a thousand cases of whooping cough have been notified and 72 people (including 31 babies) have been hospitalised. This is why the Ministry of Health encourages all pregnant women to get immunised against whooping cough.

For their best protection, encourage your whānau to be get immunised as well, to help keep your family safe from the risk of serious diseases.

Immunisation is safe and recommended during pregnancy. Make sure you and your baby are protected. Talk to your midwife, nurse or doctor today about the benefits of immunisation.

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