Vaccination of pregnant women

During pregnancy, where appropriate, vaccines containing inactivated virus/bacteria or its antigens may be used. Viral diseases that are vaccinated against are flu, rabies, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tick-borne encephalitis.

Influenza vaccination is necessary for women whose second and third trimesters of pregnancy are in the influenza season. The influenza vaccine is safe in all stages of pregnancy. After vaccination the mother’s immunity is also passed on to the child, protecting them during the first six months of life. Vaccination of the mother is the best protection for the baby, because babies under six months of age are not vaccinated against influenza. Pregnant women may have severe forms of influenza and lead to serious complications; the probability for hospitalisation and death is also higher. Unborn children of pregnant women with influenza can be premature and have a low birth weight.

Hepatitis A immunoglobulin is indicated for the treatment of a pregnant woman two weeks after exposure to the virus. Administration of the immunoglobulin is indicated for new-borns during this period and neonates of mothers with hepatitis A immediately after birth.

The varicella-zoster virus immunoglobulin is indicated for pregnant women who have not had chickenpox and were exposed to people with active chickenpox. Immunoglobulin is indicated for neonates, if the mother had chickenpox 4 days before giving birth, during childbirth or up to 2 days after delivery.

Vaccinations against bacterial diseases include tetanus, diphtheria, pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, anthrax and typhoid fever.

During pregnancy, live-attenuated virus/bacteria-containing vaccines are contraindicated (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella-zoster virus, tuberculosis, polio, yellow fever) and the vaccination of pregnant women is only indicated if disease exposure is likely/inevitable. Although vaccination-related foetal damage has not been described, there is a theoretical risk of foetal infection. Vaccinations during pregnancy are not an indication for abortion.

In general, vaccination is permitted during lactation, but vaccination against tuberculosis is not recommended.