Why Vaccines During Pregnancy Matter, From a Mom Who Opted Out

You may not want a shot. But you’re not the only one at risk.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Apr 2016
Woman getting a shot
Photo: iStock

Cormit Avital lives a healthy, active lifestyle. So when she unexpectedly contracted pertussis, or whooping cough, her symptomatic coughing was mild and she recovered quickly. The problem? She had just given birth. Baby Eva contracted whooping cough as well. And she’s been in the hospital for about a month.

Avital is sharing her story in a video for Australian organization Gold Coast Health, urging pregnant women to get the Tdap vaccination to avoid an outcome like Eva’s. You can watch the full video here.

“Being the healthy, fit, organic woman that I am, I said ‘Leave me alone. I don’t need this crap,’” Avital says, explaining she was offered the vaccine while pregnant. “Even me, the bulletproof lady who’s never been to a doctor and has traveled the world and felt healthy, got whooping cough. I got over it very quick; it was nothing for me. But [Eva] is into week four."

Eva is currently in intensive care. Avital describes the pain of watching her daughter suffer.

“They go red, and then they go blue, and sometimes they go black and you think they are dead in your hands,” she says. “They flop. [It’s] a lot of suffering for a tiny, cute little thing, that you love so much.”

The CDC recommends that women receive the Tdap, influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines during pregnancy. Plus, a new study found flu vaccination during pregnancy may reduce the risk of stillbirth.

The only vaccine moms-to-be should avoid is MMR because of the birth defect risk rubella poses. If a woman does need the MMR vaccine, she should wait until a month after receiving it to get pregnant.

“If I could turn back time, I would protect myself,” Avital says.

H/t Self.com

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