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Pregnant? Get vaccinated.

Two pregnant womenLearn about the vaccines you will need before and during your pregnancy to help protect yourself and your newest family member from serious diseases.

Vaccines are an important part of planning and having a healthy pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, check with your doctor to make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccines. If you are currently pregnant, doctors and midwives recommend you receive two vaccines during your pregnancy:

  • Tdap to help protect against whooping cough
  • The flu shot to help protect against influenza

Thinking about having a baby?

If you are in the pregnancy planning stages, you may need to receive some vaccines. Your doctor may need to give you vaccines several weeks before you become pregnant because it could take a while for your body to build up disease protection (immunity) after getting the vaccine. Some vaccine-preventable diseases, such as rubella , can lead to serious complications, including birth defects. You should not get the vaccine to prevent rubella if you are currently pregnant. Therefore, planning ahead is very important .

Pregnant? Vaccines will help protect you and your baby


Learn why Laura decided to get the whooping cough vaccine in her 3rd trimester and how her baby girl was born with some protection against the disease. Also available on YouTube.

During your pregnancy, you should receive vaccines against both the flu (if you haven't already received the vaccine during the current flu season) and whooping cough (pertussis). These vaccines not only protect you by preventing illnesses and complications, but they also pass on some protection to your child.

If you are pregnant, you are at increased risk for complications due to the flu. When you get the flu shot , you'll help protect yourself from getting sick from the flu; even if you do catch it, your symptoms may be less severe if you've been vaccinated. Changes in your immune, heart, and lung functions during pregnancy make you more likely to get seriously ill from the flu. Catching the flu also increases your chances for serious problems for your developing baby, including premature labor and delivery. Another benefit of getting the flu shot during your pregnancy is that you'll pass antibodies to your baby so he or she will be born with some flu protection that can last several months.

Whooping cough is serious for your newborn. In fact, if your newborn catches whooping cough, he or she can develop serious complications or even die from the disease. About half of babies younger than one year old who get whooping cough end up in the hospital. When you get the whooping cough vaccine while pregnant, it will allow for some whooping cough antibodies to pass on to your baby so he or she is born with protection. Plus, you'll have protection so that you are less likely to pass whooping cough on to your baby.

Maternal vaccination timing

You'll need both vaccines during each of your pregnancies.

You can get the flu shot at any time during your pregnancy. Flu activity is usually the highest between December and February, but seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October and last as late as May.

You should get the whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy to help protect your baby during the first few months of life, when they are most vulnerable to serious complications from whooping cough.

Safe and effective disease protection

You can rest assured that these vaccines are very safe for you and your baby. Millions of pregnant women have safely received flu shots for many years, and CDC continues to gather data showing that the flu shot is safe and effective during pregnancy. The whooping cough vaccine is also very safe for you and your baby. Getting the vaccine during your pregnancy will not put you at increased risk for pregnancy complications.