Vitamins and vaccines during pregnancy: An ob-gyn tells you all about it

A woman may wonder about the safety of vaccines during pregnancy, and the vitamins she may need. We have the answers for you.
post natal care
Vitamins and exercise are important during and after pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Madhavi Reddy Published: 5 Apr 2022, 14:34 pm IST
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A woman’s immune system is naturally weaker than usual during pregnancy, making them and the developing foetus more susceptible to various infections and illnesses. Taking a few precautions can help reduce the risk of various health issues in you and your baby. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your unborn baby from harmful diseases and infections is to get vaccinated. Since some vaccinations are not recommended during pregnancy, all women should be vaccinated before pregnancy.

Besides vaccines, eating a healthy diet is necessary to get most of the vitamins you need during pregnancy. Vitamins can help reduce the risk of problems in the baby’s growth in the first trimester of pregnancy.

vaccines during pregnancy
Stay safe during pregnancy! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the mandatory vitamins during pregnancy?

A pregnant woman’s body needs a variety of nutrients for the healthy growth of the baby and their own. Some of the nutrients that you need more during pregnancy are:

1. Folic Acid

Folic acids are vitamins that should be taken at least one month before conception and throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. They are taken to prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida, a birth defect. The doctor recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid tablets daily before you’re pregnant and until you’re three months pregnant. Folic acid during pregnancy is important. Eating green leafy vegetables, breakfast cereals, and fat spreads can provide natural folic acid to the body.

2. Vitamin D

It is recommended to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. Calcium and phosphate are necessary to keep our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. Eating foods such as oily fish, eggs, and red meat are good sources of Vitamin D. Moreover, exposing our skin to the summer sunlight is the best option to get Vitamin D.

3. Iron

Iron deficiency can cause tiredness, further leading to anaemia in pregnant women. Consuming meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts can increase your iron level. Lack of iron can also cause low birth weight in the baby; therefore, it is essential to be aware of the iron level in your body.

Also Read: Prenatal vitamins and minerals: The ‘secret’ to a healthy pregnancy

pregnancy diet
Ensure consumption of a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Are vaccines safe for pregnant women?

Vaccination refers to getting the injection or taking an oral vaccine dose to protect the body from a particular disease. There are two types of vaccines; one containing inactivated viruses and one containing live viruses.

The former one can be given to pregnant women during their second or third trimester. However, the latter should only be administered either at least three months before or immediately after the baby is born.

Some vaccines that are safe for pregnant women are:

1. Hepatitis B

A series of three doses are required to have immunity against Hepatitis B, and the second and third doses are given one and six months after the first dose. The vaccination is safe for pregnant women at high risk for this disease who have tested negative for the virus. This vaccination protects the mother and baby against infection before and after delivery.

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2. Influenza Flu (Inactivated) shot

The flu vaccine can be given to pregnant women during the flu season. Since the influenza shot is made from an inactivated virus, it can be given during any trimester and is safe for both the mother and the baby. Avoiding the influenza nasal spray vaccine is recommended as it is made from a live virus.

3. Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine

One dose of Tdap is recommended during the final trimester of pregnancy to protect the newborn baby from whooping cough. This vaccine is mandatory during pregnancy irrespective of when the woman had their last shot. If a woman does not get a Tdap shot during pregnancy, they should get it immediately after the baby’s birth.

Also Read: Expecting a baby amid the pandemic? These tips will help you stay healthy

important vaccinations during pregnancy
Those shots are important for you! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Things to keep in mind before or during pregnancy

It is highly recommended to talk to your health care provider if you are planning a pregnancy or are already pregnant. They can advise you on which shots to get and which vaccines to avoid. They will also be better informed about the vitamins your body requires to have a healthy pregnancy.

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About the Author

Dr Madhavi Reddy, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore. ...Read More

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