Ideally women should be vaccinated against diseases such as Rubella and Chicken Pox prior to conception. Live vaccines are generally avoided during pregnancy. Toxoids such as tetanus toxoid inactivated vaccines such as the influenza vaccine and immunoglobulins such as Zoster Immunoglobulin can be safely given during pregnancy.

Inactivated Influenza Vaccine

All pregnant mothers are encouraged to have the influenza vaccine during their pregnancy. As it is an inactivated vaccine it can be administered at any time during the pregnancy. However, most mothers feel comfortable receiving the vaccine after first trimester of pregnancy due to the early foetal development. Pregnant mothers are particularly susceptible to the flu due to immune suppression during pregnancy. Influenza vaccine not only protects the mother against medical and pregnancy complications and hospitalisation, it also provides passive immunisation and protection for the newborn. Multiple studies have been done to evaluate the safety of the influenza vaccine during pregnancy. None have demonstrated an increased risk of either maternal complications or adverse foetal outcomes.

Whooping Cough

Australia experienced an epidemic of whooping cough in 2008/09 and 2010/11. While the number of cases has been declining since 2011, young babies continue to be the most vulnerable to the disease and studies indicate that the mothers are a frequent source of infection. NSW Health now recommends that the whooping cough vaccine should be given to women prior to conception or during the third trimester of pregnancy. If the mother fails to be immunised during the third trimester she should receive the vaccine soon after deliver. Women who have received the vaccine in the past 5 years are already immune against the disease and hence do not need a vaccination during her current pregnancy.