Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding take longer to respond to vaccinations
More pregnant and breastfeeding women say they are not ready to be vaccinated than those who are fit to be vaccinated, according to a new study.
Researchers found 39% of women currently in a foetal or breastfeeding phase did not feel up to protecting themselves against measles.
They found 39% of women in the same state were not fit to be vaccinated for rubella, 15% for meningitis, and 30% for pneumococcal disease.
Study author Dr Hasrul Hussain says breastfeeding mothers need to be able to make up their mind.
The findings were based on a survey of a random sample of 3,932 pregnant women in Bangladesh.
How long does it take to fall asleep?
Their responses formed part of a study carried out in 2014 and were published in JAMA Pediatrics.
The findings showed that the time it took to fall asleep was less important to the degree that having a baby changed the way a woman felt.
The researchers thought the fact that breastfeeding and maternity leave fit into a woman’s “baby lag” state would have given the women better responses to the vaccination.
More than half of women said falling asleep was a barrier to the vaccination, while many more said a fever was a barrier.
But the scientists said their results had surprised them.
“Currently, pregnant and breastfeeding women have two particular barriers to successfully receiving vaccinations: with regard to the time it takes to fall asleep, and the condition of their bodies,” said Dr Hussain.
“Mums are generally aware that falling asleep increases their risk of influenza, so they don’t want to do it, but falling asleep decreases their immunity.
“This makes a woman feel that she is not ready to take the preventive action, or at least in terms of time for a woman to fall asleep, it is no longer important to vaccinate.”
The survey found women who did not fall asleep at least half the time also felt less and less confident in their ability to vaccinate against common diseases, such as measles, meningitis and pneumonia.
The researchers said several new vaccines were available to more than 1.8 billion children this year.
They added more action was needed by public health services to help women fit the new vaccines into their schedule.
The study found 42% of women were in fact fit to be vaccinated for all five vaccines, but the researchers said that was unacceptable.
A number of women in the survey said they were worried about their pregnancy and subsequently planned to have a child later rather than earlier.
The researchers called for better support from both families and healthcare professionals when allowing women to choose to have a child after they fell pregnant or fell breastfeed.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Measles vaccine for babies under the age of 12 months
The mothers’ perceptions of pregnancy and lactation have a “direct and negative effect” on their vaccine acceptance, they said.
Dr Hussain said this was particularly the case for women with low vitamin D levels and women who were preoccupied with their job, their finances or the impact of the Baby Bonus on their future income.
He added that the next step in research would be to collect more data on whether women who felt they were not ready for the vaccination or had problems falling asleep really fell asleep.
Dr Hussain said a large study was needed to determine the link between the time it took for women to fall asleep and their vaccination response.
He said it would not necessarily mean that women who take longer to fall asleep were more able to have a baby later.
But he said studies were needed to provide public health officials with the information they needed to provide more support.