Questions about Vaccines during Pregnancy
Are vaccines safe during pregnancy?
Certain vaccines are safe and recommended for women before, during, and after pregnancy to help keep them and their babies healthy. The antibodies mothers develop in response to these vaccines not only protect them, but also cross the placenta and help protect their babies from serious diseases early in life. Vaccinating during pregnancy also helps protect a mother from getting a serious disease and then giving it to her newborn.
Which vaccines should I get if I am pregnant?
Learn which vaccines are recommended, when to get them, and why they are important for you and your baby.
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the specific vaccines you need are determined by your age, lifestyle, medical conditions, travel, and previous vaccinations.
If you are planning a pregnancy, talk with your healthcare provider about getting up to date on all your vaccines. Some vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, should be given a month or more before pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can help you determine if you need this or any other catch-up vaccine.
CDC recommends that pregnant women get two vaccines during every pregnancy: the inactivated flu vaccine (the injection, not the live nasal flu vaccine) and the Tdap vaccine.
CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine if you are pregnant during flu season. While flu seasons vary in their timing, CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. Getting vaccinated later during flu season, though, can still be beneficial. Flu vaccines have been given to millions of pregnant women over the years, and scientific evidence shows that it is safe. Getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your baby for several months after birth from flu-related complications.
Pregnant women are also encouraged to get the Tdap vaccine at any time during pregnancy, but optimally between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy, to protect yourself and your baby from pertussis, also known as whooping cough. This vaccine is recommended during every pregnancy, regardless of how long it has been since you previously received the Tdap vaccine. If you did not get a Tdap vaccine during your pregnancy and have never gotten it, CDC recommends that you get the vaccine immediately after giving birth.
It is safe for women to receive most vaccines right after giving birth, even while breastfeeding. More information about the safety of vaccines during breastfeeding.
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy
Talk with your healthcare provider before getting vaccinated. They can answer questions and offer advice based on your specific health needs.
Which vaccines should I not get if I am pregnant?
Some vaccines are not recommended during pregnancy, such as:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
- Live influenza vaccine (nasal flu vaccine)
- Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine
- Certain travel vaccines: yellow fever, typhoid fever, and Japanese encephalitis
Note: these travel vaccines should generally not be given during pregnancy, unless your healthcare provider determines that the benefits outweigh the risks.
If you get any of these vaccines and then find out you are pregnant, talk to your doctor. Further doses of the vaccines, if needed, should be given after you have completed the pregnancy.
Can a vaccine harm my developing baby?
Some vaccines, especially live vaccines, should not be given to pregnant women because they may be harmful to the baby. Keep in mind that vaccine recommendations for pregnant women are developed with the highest safety concerns for both mothers and babies.
Are vaccines safe if I am breastfeeding?
Yes. It is safe to receive routine vaccines right after giving birth, even while you are breastfeeding. However, yellow fever vaccine is not recommended for breastfeeding women unless travel to certain countries is unavoidable and a healthcare provider determines that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. Talk with your provider if you are considering yellow fever vaccine.
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