a special place in a special time

If you're likely to be making a big trip abroad, ideally you should make plans for this before you get pregnant. While in a perfect world, pregnant women would avoid taking any drugs, this is not practical in real life. Your own health is of paramount importance so the benefits of vaccinations or prophylactic treatments should be weighed against the small, often hypothetical, risk of possible harm to your baby.

It depends if you should have your vaccinations before travelling to a foreign country. In general, vaccines that provide passive immunity .(sometimes called immunoglobulin) are safe in pregnancy (including immunoglobulin for hepatitis A). Those vaccinations that stimulate an immune response (active immunity) are also usually considered safe, as long as they do not contain live, inactivated viruses. Vaccines that contain live inactivated viruses (for example, the vaccine for rubella, or German measles) should normally be avoided during pregnancy as there is a risk that these viruses could cross to your baby and affect him or her.

Recommendations change on a month by month basis as new information comes to light and new vaccines become available, so it is really important to get the latest advice from medical experts in foreign travel. Tetanus, diphtheria, and polio vaccines may be given safely during pregnancy. Rabies vaccination should be considered if you intend travelling to a high-risk area. Cholera vaccine is not regarded as giving a useful level of immunity from the disease and is now not widely available. Yellow fever and rubella (German measles) vaccinations are produced from live, inactivated viruses and should not be administered during pregnancy.

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