Vaccinations & Anti-D
Immunisation is one of the most effective ways to help protect you (and thus your baby) against harmful infections and their resulting complications.
Flu Influenza and whooping cough (Pertussis) vaccines are highly recommended for ALL pregnant women – even if you have been given these previously.
Our practice is proud to offer free immunizations for both whooping cough and flu (in flu season) during your pregnancy. Our midwives have completed specialized immunization training and are able to administer them at your appointments. This means that you do not need to source them from your GP or other health care provider.
Significant carers of your newborn baby (such as partners, grandparents, aunts, uncles and close friends) are also strongly advised to receive current whooping cough and flu vaccines from their GP.
Check out the information below to learn more about why vaccinations and Anti D injections are so important during pregnancy.
Whooping Couch (Pertussis) Vaccine
Whooping cough is a highly infectious bacterial disease that is easily spread by coughing and sneezing. It can be especially severe in newborns and infants. Able to cause significant breathing problems and pneumonia – wopping cough is a potentially life-threatening condition if not protected against correctly. Babies younger than 6 weeks old cannot be immunised against whooping cough, and are thus at the greatest risk of the severe complications that it can cause. Immunisation during pregnancy enables mothers to pass on their protective antibodies to their babies while in the womb and can help protect them until they are able to be immunised.
It’s also important to note that these antibodies reduce over time, so immunisations received during a previous pregnancy may not be protective the next time you’re carrying a child. This is why we recommend vaccination in the third trimester of each pregnancy.
Pregnant women who get the flu (which is different to the common cold) are at an increased risk of severe illness and sometimes even require hospitalisation. Catching the flu can increase the risk of complications such as premature labour and birth. Research has also indicated that pregnant women who receive seasonal influenza vaccinations are less likely to experience stillbirth. As is the case with whooping cough vaccination, the antibodies a pregnant woman makes in response to the vaccination pass to the unborn baby and can protect the child for up to 6 months after birth. This is important as newborns are at an increased risk of serious complications from the flu if they become infected.
Because newborn immune systems are too immature to receive flu immunisation, immunised mothers play an important role in helping to protect their newborns (as well as other babies) from serious infection. Because flu viruses change rapidly, a flu vaccine from a previous year will not guarantee protection next flu season. This is why it is highly recommended that you receive a current flu vaccine while pregnant.
Anti-D is a powerful antibody that protect babies from Rhesus D Haemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn (otherwise known as HDN), a disease in which a mother’s body creates an antibody that destroys her unborn child’s red blood cells. Left untreated, it can cause anaemia and jaundice leading to heart failure, brain damage and stillbirth.
This is why women with a rhesus negative blood group require Anti-D injections at 28 and 34 weeks gestation, and in any sensitising events such as bleeding, amniocentesis or abdominal trauma.
Anti-D is also required at delivery if your baby is rhesus positive. This is to prevent the onset of HDN of your newborn during your current or a subsequent pregnancy.
Any Anti-D you require will be administered to you by one of our midwives in the clinic at the appropriate intervals.