Influenza, more commonly known as the “flu”, is highly contagious and pregnant women can become very sick with increased complications. Symptoms include high fever, sore throat, cough, headache, muscle aches and pains.
Seasonal Influenza vaccination (Fluvax) is strongly recommended for pregnant women. There is also evidence that influenza vaccination of pregnant women protects infants against influenza for the first 6 months after birth. The vaccination is safe at any stage of pregnancy and is available at your local GP.
Recently, there has been some confusion as to the best timing for this vaccination. AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon advises that pregnant patients should receive the influenza vaccination when the national program rolls out. We saw a real spike in cases in Spring last year, and one explanation for that is that the effectiveness of the vaccine might have started to wear off or that the virus had mutated beyond control. Remember that’s the reason why you get vaccinated every year as the virus changes year-on-year. However, we think that now is the optimal time for so-called healthy Australians to get vaccinated and protect themselves and their loved ones from the flu.
For more information please visit the Australian Medical Association
Women are also encouraged to have the whooping cough vaccination with their GP between 28-36 weeks of pregnancy with each pregnancy. The reason for this is that some antibodies from the vaccination may provide protection to the newborn prior to the child’s scheduled vaccination program. All partners, parents and caregivers are encouraged to have the whooping cough vaccination updated every 5-10 years as adults (preferably before your baby is born).
New born babies do not receive their first vaccination for whooping cough until 6 weeks and not fully protected until 6 months old.