Vaccines During and After Pregnancy

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COVID-19 Vaccination

Get the latest information about COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding.

A pregnant person should get vaccinated against whooping cough and flu during each pregnancy to protect herself and her baby, with immunity for the first few months of life.

Protect mom and baby with vaccines

Did you know a baby gets disease immunity (protection) from mom during pregnancy? This immunity can protect baby from some diseases during the first few months of life, but immunity decreases over time.

Woman holding her pregnant belly.

Get a whooping cough vaccine and a flu vaccine during each pregnancy

Moms, get a whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) and a flu shot during each pregnancy. Use our Adult Vaccine Self-Assessment Tool  to get a customized printout of recommended vaccines to take to the next medical appointment.

Whooping cough

Whooping cough, known as pertussis, can be serious for anyone, but for a newborn, it can be life-threatening.

  • About 7 in 10 deaths from whooping cough are among babies younger than 2 months old. These babies are too young to receive a Tdap vaccine. The younger the baby is when they get whooping cough, the more likely they will need to be treated in a hospital.
  • It may be hard to know if a baby has whooping cough because many babies with this disease don’t cough at all. Instead, it can cause them to stop breathing and turn blue.

When a pregnant person gets a whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy, her body will create protective antibodies and pass some of them to the baby before birth. These antibodies will provide the baby some short-term, early protection against whooping cough.  CDC recommends getting a whooping cough vaccine during the 27th through 36th week of each pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period.

Flu

Pregnant people are more likely to have severe illness from flu, possibly due to changes in immune, heart, and lung functions during pregnancy.

Make sure to receive your yearly flu vaccine  —it’s the best way for a pregnant woman to protect against the flu and protect the baby for several months after birth from flu-related complications.

CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine by the end of October despite flu seasons varying in their timing from season to season. This timing helps protect a pregnant woman before flu activity begins to increase.

COVID-19

Pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. If you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talk to your healthcare provider.

Other vaccines

Some women may need other vaccines before, during, or after they become pregnant. For example, if a pregnant woman works in a lab or is traveling to a country where she may be exposed to meningococcal disease, her doctor or healthcare professional may recommend meningococcal vaccination.

  • Hepatitis B: A baby whose mother has hepatitis B is at highest risk for becoming infected with hepatitis B during delivery. Moms, talk to your healthcare professional about getting tested for hepatitis B and whether or not you should get vaccinated.
  • Hepatitis A: For pregnant women who have a history of chronic liver disease, doctors or healthcare professionals may recommend the hepatitis A vaccine.
  • Vaccines for travel: Pregnant people planning international travel should talk to their doctor or healthcare professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before their trip to discuss any special precautions or necessary vaccines. See Traveler’s Health for additional tips on how to prepare to travel safely.

Vaccines after childbirth

Healthcare professionals may recommend some women receive certain vaccines right after giving birth. Postpartum vaccination will help protect moms from getting sick, and they will pass some antibodies to the baby through breastmilk if they are able to breastfeed. Vaccination after pregnancy is especially important if moms did not receive certain vaccines before or during pregnancy.

However, moms will not get protective antibodies immediately if they wait to get vaccinated until after birth. This is because it takes about 2 weeks after getting vaccinated before the body develops antibodies.

The baby will also start to get his or her own vaccines to protect against serious childhood diseases.

Page last reviewed: November 9, 2021