Vaccine Safety for Moms-To-Be

COVID-19 Vaccination

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

Pregnant women may safely receive inactivated vaccines (Tdap and flu), mRNA (Moderna and Pfizer), and viral vector vaccines (J&J).  

Pregnant woman standing outside holding her belly.

Vaccines help protect pregnant people and babies against serious diseases

Pregnant people share everything with their babies. That means when a pregnant person gets vaccines, she  isn’t  just protecting herself— they are   giving the baby some early protection too.

CDC has recommendations for the vaccines needed before, during, and after pregnancy. Currently, CDC routinely recommends Tdap and flu shots during pregnancy.

  • Get the Tdap vaccine (to help protect against whooping cough), during pregnancy.
  • The flu shot can be given before or during pregnancy, depending on whether or not it is flu season during a pregnancy.
  • It is safe for pregnant people to receive vaccines right after giving birth, even while breastfeeding.
  • Some vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, should be given a month or more before pregnancy if a pregnant person didn’t get the vaccine as a child.

Live virus vaccines, such as the MMR and chickenpox, should not be given to pregnant people, but should be given to them before or after pregnancy, if indicated. Talk to your doctor about the MMR, Tdap, and flu vaccines before getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is also recommended for pregnant people. The authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant people are the mRNA Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, which contain no live virus. If you have any questions about these vaccines, talk to your doctor.

Vaccine safety before, during, and after pregnancy

MMR Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know

Female doctor showing medical report to patient.

It’s important to know that the Tdap and flu vaccines are safe for a pregnant person and their baby. Likewise, the limited information collected for COVID-19 vaccines given to pregnant people have not identified any safety concerns for them or their babies.

It is important to get MMR before becoming pregnant to reduce the risk of becoming infected with rubella which can pass on to the unborn child, causing Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). CRS can cause severe birth defects and neurodevelopmental problems. Even though MMR is a safe and effective vaccine, there is a theoretical risk to the baby. This is because it is a live vaccine, meaning it contains a weakened version of the living viruses.

  • Live vaccines are generally not recommended during pregnancy.
  • If a pregnant person did not get MMR as a child, she should get the vaccine before pregnancy.

All vaccines are held to the highest standards of safety—meaning they are carefully studied and monitored for side effects. Vaccines are like any medicine, which means they can have some side effects. However, most people who get vaccinated have no side effects or only mild side effects. CDC continually monitors vaccine safety, and the most common side effects seen are mild and go away quickly on their own (redness, swelling, and tenderness at the site where the shot was given. Other possible side effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccine are tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.).

For more studies, the FDA also has a pregnancy exposure registry, which is a study that collects health information from pregnant persons who take medicines or vaccines when they are pregnant.