Women’s Health A-Z
Many women may not associate vaccines with their OB/GYN, but there are a number that you can get during your appointment with us, including Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. These vaccines are very important to your health, even, and sometimes especially, if you are pregnant.
Every year, thousands of people in the United States die from the flu, and many more are hospitalized. The flu vaccine can prevent you from getting the flu, make it less severe if you do get it, and help stop the spread of the flu to others. Flu shots are an effective and safe way to protect yourself, and, if you are pregnant, your baby, from serious illness and complications of the flu. Flu shots can be given anytime, including during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. They also help protect infants under the age of six months who are too young to receive vaccination themselves. If you are pregnant, please keep in mind that you should receive the flu shot, not the nasal spray.
Known as Gardasil, the HPV vaccine is approved by the FDA and is recommended by the CDC. In the United States, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer every year, and about 4,00 women die from it. The HPV vaccine can prevent most of these cases of cervical cancer. The vaccine is recommended for patients between the ages of 9 and 26. Gardasil protects against the four most common strains of the Human Papilloma Virus, which is the most common sexually-transmitted infection. Both men and women can be infected with HPV, and, while most cases clear on their own, some may cause serious health problems like cancer. This vaccine is given in a series of either two or three injections over the course of six months.
The Tdap vaccine is used to prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, which are diseases caused by bacteria. Since vaccination began, cases of tetanus and diphtheria have decreased by 99%, and cases of pertussis have decreased by 80%. All pregnant women should get the Tdap shot when they are in their third trimester, preferably between 28 and 36 weeks.
Interested in learning more about the science of vaccines and the risks of opting out? Check out this PBS Special.