Immunisation during pregnancy protects babies

immunisationGetting immunised during pregnancy can protect babies from some serious diseases.

It’s well known that immunisation protects children from some serious diseases. What is less well known is that women can get immunised during pregnancy for whooping cough and the flu. This helps protect mums and their babies from the harmful effects of these diseases.

Dr Pat Tuohy, the Ministry of Health’s Chief Advisor – Child and Youth Health, stresses the importance of immunisation during pregnancy.

“Whooping cough can cause babies to become seriously ill, and can sometimes be deadly. And getting the flu when you are pregnant can be serious for both you and your baby. That’s why immunisations during pregnancy for whooping cough and the flu are recommended. It’s free and has a proven safety record.”

Research has shown that immunisation against whooping cough during pregnancy helps protect nine out of ten babies in their first few weeks of life, until they are fully immunised. For the flu, pregnant women are five times more likely to be admitted to hospital when suffering from influenza-related complications than women who are not pregnant.

National Immunisation Week is on May 2–8 with the theme of ‘protecting baby starts in pregnancy’. Expectant mums are encouraged to enrol early with a midwife and GP, be immunised during pregnancy, and immunise baby on time.

“Enrolling with a GP and midwife early in the pregnancy helps ensure mother and baby get the care they need,” says Bronwen Pelvin, the Ministry of Health’s Principal Advisor – Maternity.

For more information on Immunisation, go to www.immunise.govt.nz, www.immune.org.nz, www.fightflu.co.nz or phone 0800 IMMUNE