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?

Fact Sheet for Expecting Moms

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.

Flu 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.

Tdap vaccine

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:

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.

More Information

Related Scientific Articles

Donahue JG, Kieke BA, King JP, Mascola MA, Shimabukuro TT, DeStefano F, Hanson KE, McClure DL, Olaiya O, Glanz JM, Hechter RC, Irving SA, Jackson LA, Klein NP, Naleway AL, Weintraub ES, Belongia EA. Inactivated influenza vaccine and spontaneous abortion in the Vaccine Safety Datalink in 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15.external icon Vaccine. 2019 Oct 16;37(44):6673-6681. Epub 2019 Sep 17.

Kochhar S, Edwards KM, Ropero Alvarez AM, Moro PL, Ortiz JR. Introduction of new vaccines for immunization in pregnancy – Programmatic, regulatory, safety and ethical considerationsexternal icon. Vaccine. 2019 May 31; 37(25): 3267-3277. Epub 2019 May 6.

Landazabal CS, Moro PL, Lewis P, Omer SB. Safety of 9-valent human papillomavirus vaccine administration among pregnant women: Adverse event reports in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 2014-2017.external icon Vaccine. 2019 Feb 21;37(9):1229-1234. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Fortner KB, Swamy GK, Broder KR, Jimenez-Truque N, Zhu Y, Moro PL, Liang J, Walter EB, Heine RP, Moody MA, Yoder S, Edwards KM. Reactogenicity and immunogenicity of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) in pregnant and nonpregnant women.external icon Vaccine. 2018 Oct 8;36(42):6354-6360. Epub 2018 Sep 13.

Kharbanda, E. O., Vazquez-Benitez, G., Lipkind, H. S., Sheth, S. S., Zhu, J., Naleway, A. L., Klein, N. P., Hechter, R., Daley, M. F., Donahue, J. G., Jackson, M. L., Kawai, A. T., Sukumaran, L., and Nordin, J. D. Risk of Spontaneous Abortion After Inadvertent Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in Pregnancy.external icon Obstet. Gynecol. 2018 Jul; 132(1): 35-44.

Donahue J. Response to three Letters to the Editor regarding: Donahue JG, et al. Association of spontaneous abortion with receipt of inactivated influenza vaccine containing H1N1pdm09 in 2010-11 and 2011-12.external icon Vaccine 35 (2017) 5314-5322. Vaccine. 2018 Apr 19; 36(17): 2231-2232.

Moro PL, Zheteyeva Y, Barash F, Lewis P, Cano M. Assessing the safety of hepatitis B vaccination during pregnancy in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 1990-2016external icon. Vaccine. 2018 Jan 2;36(1):50-54. Epub 2017 Nov 27.

Lipkind, H. S., Vazquez-Benitez, G., Nordin, J. D., Romitti, P. A., Naleway, A. L., Klein, N. P., Hechter, R. C., Jackson, M. L., Hambidge, S. J., Lee, G. M., Sukumaran, L., and Kharbanda, E. O. Maternal and Infant Outcomes After Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in the Periconceptional Period or During Pregnancyexternal icon. Obstet. Gynecol. 2017 Sep; 130(3): 599-608.

Moro PL, Cragan J, Lewis P, Sukumaran L. Major Birth Defects after Vaccination Reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 1990 to 2014.external icon Birth Defects Res. 2017 Jul 17; 109(13): 1057-1062.

Moro PL, Sukumaran L. Cholera vaccination: pregnant women excluded no more.external icon Lancet Infect Dis. 2017 May; 17(5): 469-470. Epub 2017 Feb 2.

Moro P, Baumblatt J, Lewis P, Cragan J, Tepper N, Cano M. Surveillance of Adverse Events After Seasonal Influenza Vaccination in Pregnant Women and Their Infants in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, July 2010-May 2016.external icon Drug Saf. 2017 Feb;40(2):145-152.

DeSilva M, Vazquez-Benitez G, Nordin JD et al. Tdap Vaccination During Pregnancy and Microcephaly and Other Structural Birth Defects in Offspringexternal iconJAMA 2016 Nov 1; 316(17): 1823-1825.

Chen RT, Moro PL, Bauwens J, Bonhoeffer J. Obstetrical and neonatal case definitions for immunization safety dataexternal icon. Vaccine. 2016 Dec 1; 34(49):5991-5992. Epub 2016 Aug 20.

Vazquez-Benitez G, Kharbanda EO, Naleway AL et al. Risk of Preterm or Small-for-Gestational-Age Birth After Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy: Caveats When Conducting Retrospective Observational Studiesexternal iconAm J Epidemiol. 2016 Aug 1; 184(3): 176-186. Epub 2016 Jul 22.

Moro PL, Cragan J, Tepper N, Zheteyeva Y, Museru O, Lewis P, Broder K. Enhanced surveillance of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccines in pregnancy in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), 2011-2015.external icon  Vaccine. 2016 Apr 29;34(20):2349-53. Epub 2016 Mar 22.

Sukumaran L, McCarthy NL, Kharbanda EO, Weintraub ES, Vasquez-Benitez G, McNeil MM, et al. Safety of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis and influenza vaccinations in pregnancy.external icon Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Nov; 126(5): 1069-74.

Moro PL, McNeil MM, Sukumaran L, Broder KR. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health response to monitoring Tdap safety in pregnant women in the United Statesexternal icon. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2015; 11(12): 2872-9. Epub 2015 Sep 17.

Datwani H, Moro PL, Harrington T, Broder KR. Chorioamnionitis following vaccination in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.external icon Vaccine. 2015 Jun 17; 33(27): 3110-3. Epub 2015 May 11.

Moro PL, Zheteyeva Y, Lewis P, Shi J, Yue X, Museru OI, et al. Safety of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (Gardasil®) in pregnancy: Adverse events among non-manufacturer reports in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, 2006-2013external icon. Vaccine. 2015 Jan 15; 33(4):519-22. Epub 2014 Dec 8.

Kharbanda EO, Vazquez-Benitez G, Lipkind H, Naleway AL, Klein NP, Cheetham TC, et al. Receipt of pertussis vaccine during pregnancy across 7 Vaccine Safety Datalink sitesexternal iconPrev Med. 2014 Oct; 67: 316-9. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Naleway AL, Irving SA, Henninger ML, Li DK, Shifflett P, Ball S, Williams JL, Cragan J, Gee J, Thompson MG, Vaccine Safety Datalink and Pregnancy and Influenza Project. Safety of influenza vaccination during pregnancy: A review of subsequent maternal obstetric events and findings from two recent cohort studiesexternal iconVaccine. 2014 May 30; 32(26): 3122-3127. Epub 2014 Apr 14.

Naleway AL, Kurosky S, Henninger ML, Gold R, Nordin JD, Kharbanda EO, Irving S, Craig Cheetham T, Nakasato C, Glanz JM, Hambridge SJ, Davis RL, Klein NP, McCarthy NL, Weintraub E. Vaccinations given during pregnancy, 2002-2009: A descriptive studyexternal iconAm J Prev Med. 2014 Feb; 46(2): 150-157.

Moro PL, Museru OI, Niu M, Lewis P, Broder K. Reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System after hepatitis A and hepatitis AB vaccines in pregnant women.external icon Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Jun; 210(6): 561.e1-6. Epub 2013 Dec 27.

Moro PL, Museru OI, Broder K, Cragan J, Zheteyeva Y, Tepper N, Revzina N, Lewis P, Arana J, Barash F, Kissin D, Vellozzi C. Safety of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 live attenuated monovalent vaccine in pregnant women.external icon Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Dec; 122(6): 1271-8.

Kharbanda EO, Vazquez-Benitez G, Lipkind H, Naleway A, Lee G, Nordin JD, Vaccine Safety Datalink Team. Inactivated influenza vaccine during pregnancy and risks for adverse obstetric eventsexternal iconObstet Gynecol. 2013 Sep; 122(3): 659-667.

Naleway AL, Gold R, Kurosky S, Riedlinger K, Henninger ML, Nordin JD, Kharbanda EO, Irving S, Cheetham TC, McCarthy NL. Identifying pregnancy episodes, outcomes, and mother-infant pairs in the Vaccine Safety Datalinkexternal iconVaccine. 2013 Jun 12; 31(27): 2898-2903. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Henninger M, Naleway A, Crane B, Donahue J, Irving S. Predictors of seasonal influenza vaccination during pregnancyexternal iconObstet Gynecol. 2013 Apr; 121(4): 741-749.

Zheteyeva Y, Moro PL, Yue X, Broder K. Safety of meningococcal polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccine in pregnancy: A review of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting Systemexternal icon. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Jun; 208(6): 478.e1-6. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Irving SA, Kieke BA, Donahue JG, Mascola MA, Baggs J, DeStefano F, Cheetham TC, Jackson LA, Naleyway AL, GLanz JM, Nordin JD, Belongia EA, Vaccine Safety Datalink. Trivalent inactivated Influenza vaccine and spontaneous abortion.external icon Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Jan; 121(1): 159-65.

Moro PL, Tepper NK, Grohskopf LA, Vellozzi C, Broder K. Safety of seasonal influenza and influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccines in pregnancyexternal icon. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2012 Aug; 11(8): 911-21.

Kharbanda EO, Vazquez-Benitez G, Shi WX, Lipkind H, Naleway A, Molitor B, Kuckler L, Olsen A, Nordin JD. Assessing the safety of influenza immunization during pregnancy: The Vaccine Safety Datalinkexternal iconAm J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Sep; 207(3 Suppl): S47-S51. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Zheteyeva YA, Moro PL, Tepper NK, Rasmussen SA, Barash FE, Revzina NV, Kissin D, Lewis PW, Yue X, Haber P, Tokars JI, Vellozzi C, Broder KR. Adverse event reports after tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccines in pregnant womenexternal icon. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Jul; 207(1):59.e1-7. Epub 2012 May 14.

Moro PL, Broder K, Zheteyeva Y, Revzina N, Tepper N, Kissin D, Barash F, Arana J, Brantley MD, Ding H, Singleton JA, Walton K, Haber P, Lewis P, Yue X, Destefano F, Vellozzi C. Adverse events following administration to pregnant women of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.external icon Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Nov; 205(5): 473.e1-9. Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Moro PL, Broder K, Zheteyeva Y, Walton K, Rohan P, Sutherland A, Guh A, Haber P, Destefano F, Vellozzi C. Adverse events in pregnant women following administration of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine and live attenuated influenza vaccine in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, 1990-2009.external icon Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Feb; 204(2): 146.e1-7. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

France EK, Smith-Ray R, McClure D, Hambidge S, Xu S, Yamasaki K,  Shay D, Weintraub E, Fry AM, Black SB, Shinefield HR, Mullooly JP, Jackson LA. Impact of maternal influenza vaccination during pregnancy on the incidence of acute respiratory illness visits among infantsexternal iconArch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Dec; 160(12): 1277-1283.

Black SB, Shinefield HR, France EK, Fireman BH, Platt ST, Shay D, Vaccine Safety Datalink Workgroup.  Effectiveness of influenza vaccine during pregnancy in preventing hospitalizations and outpatient visits for respiratory illness in pregnant women and their infantsexternal iconAm J Perinatol. 2004 Aug; 21(6):333-339.