Antenatal Care

Injections During Pregnancy

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The medical team taking care of you, should you be in need of treatment for illness or a specific condition, will have as their first priority the overall health of you and your baby. As you will already be aware, very many medicines are contra-indicated during pregnancy. However, the risk of some illnesses or conditions is such that medicines via injection have been produced to prevent your contracting them. And while clinical trials cannot be done on pregnant women to prove their safety and efficacy, the medical experts are able to establish on the basis of other date collected globally, that these medicines are safe to be administered. Here's our quick guide to the main ones that you may encounter during your pregnancy.

Rhesus negative/Rhesus disease

Your blood group is established early in your pregnancy, and if there is a risk of you being rhesus negative and your baby positive, you will be given injection to prevent your suffering rhesus disease.

Whooping cough

This disease possess a great risk to new-born babies, (who can develop pneumonia, brain damage or even die as a result of the illness) and so there is a recently introduced programme within the NHS of vaccinating mothers against whooping cough; the immunity mothers develop in response to the vaccine will pass to their unborn children. Even if you were vaccinated against the disease during childhood, you should still undergo the injection, as the immunity you gained back then will now be weak or even gone altogether. The ideal window for immunisation is between the 28th and 38th week of pregnancy, as this gives the best chance of as many whooping cough anti-bodies crossing the placenta. The vaccine will not give you whooping cough, and can be administered at the same time as the flu jab.


Influenza, or flu, and in particular the H1N1 strain (swine flu) has a number of possible complications for pregnant women, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, middle ear infections and less commonly encephalitis, meningitis, and septic shock. Flu is more common during the winter months and the vaccine is available from September until January / February. Getting immunised sooner rather than later offers the best protection. A flu jab from a previous winter will not protect you, as the strains and genetic make-up of the viruses change over time. The vaccine will not give your flu, and can be administered at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine. However, you should not delay getting your flu vaccination for the sole reason of doing at the same time as your whooping cough one.

Steroid injections

Steroid injections during pregnancy are administered for two reasons. First, to ease pain in the mother if she is suffering from severe hip or pelvic girdle pain, although drug treatment is not that common here in the UK. The second circumstance is that in which steroids are given to mature the lungs of unborn babies who are at risk of premature delivery, to prevent against their contracting Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a serious condition where a lack of oxygen being absorbed by the lungs causes a range of other severe complications. Obviously, you will be encountering other issues if you are at risk of early delivery and the medical team caring for you will give you all the advice you need to understand the risks involved.

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