You’re finally pregnant, and you’re constantly going over the big day in your head. As soon as you feel those telltale contractions, you’ll call your husband, he’ll rush from work to meet you at the hospital, your doctor will be ready and your birth will go smoothly and just as planned. Then, you’ll strap your adorable bundle of joy up in the car and bring him home to his beautiful nursery where you’ll start your new life as a mom. You probably have most of this right, but you’re forgetting a huge period of time in between birth and bringing home baby. Since this isn’t the exciting part, it’s easy to forget. However, it’s important that you know what to expect in those hours or even days between birth and going home so that nothing catches you off guard.

In addition to the examinations your doctor will give your baby, you might need some medical attention as well. Most notably, you might need immunizations. Most women were vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella when they were children. In fact, your doctor probably double-checked that you’ve had these before you become pregnant, because the vaccines shouldn’t be administered during pregnancy. They are unsafe for fetal development because there is a small chance they’ll bring on the infection. However, if your doctor found out that you weren’t immune to the diseases while you were pregnant, you’ll have had to wait until you’ve delivered.

So, of you didn’t have the measles, mumps or rubella vaccinations before you became pregnant, you will need to get them before you leave the hospital after delivery. That way, you’ll be protected from getting the infection and passing it on to your baby when his or her immune system isn’t ready to handle it yet.

All women visualize their smooth and successful birth in the hospital long before it happens, but many leave out the boring parts afterwards. There’s no harm in that, but you should talk to your doctor about whether or not you’ll need any vaccinations before you leave the hospital. Especially when you’re ready and excited to make it home with your baby, it can put a damper on the whole experience. The vaccines will be quick and no more painful than any other type of vaccines, but they’ll heavily contrast the happiness and excitement of the baby, so it’s best to be mentally prepared.

Source: K Bruhn et al: Administration of Vaccinations in Pregnancy and Postpartum. MCN The American Journal of Maternal and Child Nursing Volume 34 Issue 2 pp. 98-105 April 2009

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