How do you prepare yourself for a healthy pregnancy?
Pregnancy is an exciting & rewarding experience for any woman. Pre-pregnancy preparation is essential in the journey of pregnancy. Being well prepared optimises your chance of a smooth pregnancy and healthy baby. It prepares you both physically and emotionally.
#1. What problems may older mothers have during pregnancy?
Most pregnancies in older mothers have a good outcome. Traditionally, an older mother is defined as any expectant mother who is 35 years old or more. The worry is an increased risk of genetic problems as the quality of the egg may deteriorate with maternal age.
In particular, there is an increase risk of Down Syndrome. In addition, older mothers have increase risk of miscarriages. Overall, there is an increased tendency to medical complications such as hypertension and diabetes. It is important for any mother with an advanced maternal age to see an obstetrician early so that proper follow-up and tests can be performed.
#2. Is vaccination safe for the developing baby?
There is no evidence that vaccination in pregnant women poses any risk to the developing fetus. The pregnant woman may be vaccinated with "kill" (inactivated) viruses, bacterial vaccines or toxids. Examples include — flu, whooping cough (pertussis) and tetanus vaccines. We recommend that you avoid "live" virus vaccines (like measles, mumps and rubella) that contain small parts of the virus. They may cause miscarriage if they are transmitted to the baby. This risk is very small though. Other "live" virus vaccines include chicken pox, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and poliomyelitis vaccines.
#3. Once I get a "live" virus vaccination, when can I safely conceive?
If you receive a "live" virus vaccine, you need to wait 3 months before you try to conceive. Your body will need time to flush out the injected live viruses. However, if you are pregnant accidentally, do not be alarmed.The risk of your baby being affected is very small.
#4. Can I get other childhood diseases again after vaccination?
Chicken pox, German measles and mumps generally give you a lifelong immunity once you have had them. If you are unsure of your immunity status, consult your obstetrician to do a simple blood test.
#5. Is it safe to get the flu vaccine during pregnancy?
Getting the flu while pregnant may lead to complications in some women. These include high fever and lung infections, which may require hospitalization. The flu vaccine can be safely administered to pregnant women to prevent these complications, especially during the flu season.
#6. Is it safe to get the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine during pregnancy?
Pregnant women tends to get more colds and flu due to the weakened immune system during pregnancy. Getting the vaccine in third trimester would prevent you from getting the whooping cough. Also, the antibodies would be transmitted to the baby by the placenta and later breastfeeding. This would protect the baby.
#7. Are vaccinations safe for breastfeeding?
Be rest assured that vaccinations are safe for breastfeeding for both the "live" as well as inactivated vaccines.