What vaccinations to have pre-pregnancy

By Dr George Kassianos, Immunisation spokesperson for the Royal College of GPs

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WHAT IS IMMUNISATION?

Immunisation is the process in which you’re made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, usually by administering a vaccine. The vaccine tends to be injected into the muscle of the upper arm.

WHY IS IMMUNISATION IMPORTANT PRE-PREGNANCY?

Getting an infection during pregnancy may put your health at risk as well as the health and wellbeing of your unborn child.

WHAT VACCINES DO I NEED BEFORE TRYING TO CONCEIVE?

  • Rubella (German measles). Have two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, one month apart if you’ve never had MMR before. If you had one dose of MMR in the past, then just one dose is needed. Allow at least a month before trying to conceive. No other routine vaccine is needed before conception

  • Influenza (flu) vaccine during the influenza season

I DON’T KNOW IF I’VE ALREADY BEEN VACCINATED, SHOULD I HAVE THEM JUST IN CASE I HAVEN’T?

Ask your GP and if there is no record, then have the vaccine. There is no problem if indeed you have had it before.

HOW LONG AFTER VACCINATION DO I NEED TO WAIT BEFORE TRYING TO CONCEIVE?

  • One month following the last dose of the MMR vaccine (this is a live vaccine)

  • No need to wait if you have had the influenza vaccine (this is not a live vaccine)

DOES MY PARTNER ALSO NEED TO BE VACCINATED?

No, but anybody aged 16 years and over that has not had the MMR or only had one dose of the two, is recommended to complete the MMR vaccination, so in effect the answer is your partner needs to have completed the MMR vaccination course (two doses).


Juliana Kassianos