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Health Before

Pregnancy

Last Reviewed: April 2017
The latch

Protecting Yourself against Infections

Immunizations

Key Info

Get Vaccinated Regularly

Remember: you're never too old to get immunized! Immunization is a lifelong process of preventing infection and disease.

As an adult of childbearing age you should receive adequate doses of these recommended vaccines:

  • Tdap (Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis - whooping cough )
  • Influenza (flu shot)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (chicken pox)

You can receive other vaccinations based on your occupation, travel, underlying medical conditions, environment, lifestyle and age.

Pregnancy and Chicken Pox

Adults, pregnant women in particular, can develop severe chickenpox. If you catch chickenpox early in your pregnancy, there is a very small chance of it damaging your unborn child. If you have chickenpox shortly before or after giving birth, your newborn may develop a very severe infection.

If you're a woman who has had chickenpox you don't need to worry: you and your future baby are already protected by antibodies in your blood.

If you're a woman who hasn't had chickenpox, ask your doctor about getting vaccinated against chickenpox. If you do get vaccinated, be sure to avoid pregnancy for at least one month following your vaccine.

Pregnancy and Rubella (German Measles)

Rubella (German measles) is an infection that could cause serious birth defects when a woman is exposed to it early in pregnancy. Most women have either been immunized against rubella or have developed antibodies to protect against the disease. A vaccination is available for rubella, but should not be given while a woman is pregnant. It is best to receive this vaccine at least three months before becoming pregnant. You should talk with your doctor/midwife about rubella and its risks before you become pregnant.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other communicable diseases during pregnancy can harm you and your developing baby. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infectious diseases that are spread from one person to another through any type of sexual contact (oral, anal and/or vaginal).

Some untreated STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, might damage a woman's fallopian tubes, making it harder for her get pregnant. Learning about common STIs and getting tested for infections will help prevent or treat diseases that could harm you, a pregnancy and your future baby.

Pregnancy and HIV

If you are planning to become pregnant, you can protect your baby from human immune deficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. You can have HIV for years and not feel sick. If you have HIV (even without symptoms) there is a 1 in 4 chance that your baby will get it too. If a pregnant woman is found to be HIV positive, there are a number of ways that the risk of giving the infection to the baby can be reduced.

To protect your baby and yourself, you should know your HIV status. If you are HIV positive before you get pregnant, talk to your doctor.

For more information:
Region of Peel — Public Health
905-799-7700 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216

To speak with a Public Health Nurse

Sexual Health Information Line
Region of Peel — Public Health

Healthy Sexuality
Region of Peel — Public Health

Important Facts about HIV and Pregnancy
Region of Peel — Public Health


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Revised: Thursday June 22 2017

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