Maternal Immunization

Finding out that you are expecting a child is an exciting time for soon to be parents. In Kenya, the government has a schedule for clinic visits and maternal immunizations. These visits are critical because they ensure that the pregnancy is proceeding well and the health of the mother is intact. Once born, your baby will go through its own set of immunizations that begin immediately they are born. Read more on this here.

What you should know about Immunization before Pregnancy

There are vaccines that a woman of child bearing age should consider before getting pregnant. These vaccines when given during pregnancy may threaten the pregnancy are not recommended. Women who may consider themselves to be at risk of contracting the following diseases should be vaccinated against them to make sure that they do not get infected during pregnancy. Some of these are:

  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella

Contracting these diseases especially in the first trimester of pregnancy may result in severe birth defects including deafness, eye problems and heart defects. The vaccine that is usually given for this is MMR

  • Chicken Pox

This also results in birth defects earlier on in the pregnancy and may cause pneumonia during the pregnancy. The chicken pox vaccine is recommended.

Please note that these vaccines are only recommended for would be mothers who have never contracted these disease and have no immunity towards them. Women who live in areas that have an outbreak of such disease should also get vaccinated.

Importance of Immunization During Pregnancy

Immunization during pregnancy is a key aspect of the road to delivery. These vaccines ensure that the mother is comfortable throughout the pregnancy and the risk of certain diseases is reduced. Some of the vaccines given are also important to the developing baby as they enter the fetuses’ immunity through the mother and others offer protection during delivery times.

Vaccines that are Given During Pregnancy Include:

  • Influenza-The flu vaccine can safely be administered any time during the pregnancy. This vaccine has been shown to reduce influenza based complications, and hospitalization in expectant mothers.
  • Tetanus– tetanus vaccine is given to expectant women to prevent any tetanus infections that may result during the delivery process to protect the fetus against lock jaw syndrome. For first time mothers the tetanus vaccine also referred to as TT (Tetanus Toxoid) is given during the first clinic visit. A second does is given during the second visit. This will give the expectant mother 3 years protection against tetanus. Subsequent singular doses are given during later pregnancies.

Immunization for Special Risk Groups

Groups which have a high risk exposure to disease like, health care workers, emergency responders and caregivers should be regularly immunized against infectious disease under the instructions of a healthcare provider.


#Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

#Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed March 2019

Sources:, uptodate, ncbi.nlm.nih, who

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