Vaccine Guide for Pregnant Travelers
Some immunizations can be administered during your travels
If you’re a world traveler looking to start (or add to) a family, it’s best to get vaccinated about 3 months before you get pregnant. Then again, if you’re that smart about planning, chances are there’s nothing we can tell you that you don’t already know!
The rest of us should always consult our doctors about immunization needs if we plan to travel during pregnancy, especially to lesser developed parts of the world where hygiene may be a concern.
Pregnant travelers may consider being immunized against the following diseases, should their intended destination warrant it.
It is best to avoid traveling to high-risk malaria zones while pregnant, but if that is not possible preventative approaches to mosquito bites should be your first line of defense.
Wear full-coverage clothing, use bed nets, burn mosquito coils, spray yourself sparingly with DEET repellants (note there is a slight risk to the developing fetus) or use products containing Permethrin, such as Repel.
No anti-malarial drug is 100% effective, but Paludrine and Chloroquine are considered relatively safe in pregnancy and should be taken with a folic acid supplement.
Larium should be avoided in the first trimester, but for the second and third trimester it may be better than no protection. Discuss risks and side effects with your doctor.
You should have a booster if you haven’t had one in the past 10 years, best administered in the second or third trimester.
HAV is prevalent in developing countries. The effect of this vaccine on fetal development is unknown but is expected to be low.
This vaccine may be administered during pregnancy.
Pregnant women beyond their first trimester can consider vaccination if their intended destination is having an active flu season.
If the pregnant woman is traveling in an area where the disease is epidemic, this vaccine can be administered.
The effect of this vaccine during the first trimester hasn’t been evaluated. Women with chronic diseases such as cardiac or pulmonary diseases and immunosuppressed women should especially consider vaccination.
Ideally you should have at least two doses of the vaccine one month apart before departure. Contracting polio while pregnant presents serious complications to both mother and child.
The vaccine has an efficacy rate of about 70%. It is available in an injectable and oral format, each with its pros and cons for pregnant travelers. Discuss with your doctor.
Not recommended for pregnant women unless travel to an endemic area is unavoidable and risk for exposure is high. Some regions require you have a yellow fever vaccination certificate even if you’re just traveling through. Pregnant travelers should carry a physician’s waiver along with their immunization record.