Not enough people know that it’s important to get a tetanus shot and, when possible, a flu shot during each pregnancy. These vaccines protect your baby from influenza and pertussis during their first few months of life, when they’re too young to receive those vaccines themselves.
In the last three months of pregnancy, a foetus receives antibodies through the placenta.
For the best results, American health authority, the CDC, recommends getting your tetanus shot between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy. Tetanus immunises you and your baby against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
The flu shot can provide similar protection. Since the flu shot is different each year and immunity wanes over the course of the year, this is also one you should get even if you’ve had it in previous years.
Both shots are safe for people who are pregnant, and it’s recommended that everyone get them unless your doctor has told you you shouldn’t. (That’s a switch from years ago, when I had to bring a doctor’s note with me to the pharmacy to say that it was ok to get it even though I was pregnant. We now know that a flu shot in pregnancy is safe, and that the benefits far outweigh the risks.)
Not everyone has caught up with the recent guidelines, so if your doctor hasn’t mentioned these two shots, make sure to ask.