Vaccinating Pregnant Women
Only 1 in 3 US pregnant women receive both influenza (flu) and whooping cough vaccines.
Influenza and whooping cough can be deadly, especially in a baby’s first few months of life. Vaccinating women against these diseases during each pregnancy helps protect both them and their babies. Studies show flu and whooping cough vaccines are very safe for pregnant women and developing babies.
- CDC recommends all pregnant women receive flu vaccine at any time during pregnancy, and whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) early in their third trimester, during each pregnancy.
- Pregnant women who get vaccinated pass antibodies to their babies, protecting babies in the first few months of life before they can get their own vaccines.
- Recommendations from healthcare providers are one of the strongest motivators for pregnant women to get vaccinated.
Vaccines often offered, but many pregnant women and babies left unprotected
Women vaccinated during pregnancy pass protective antibodies to babies.
SOURCE: Lancet, April 2017, https://bit.ly/2lNYsgZ. F1000Research, January 2018, https://f1000research.com/articles/7-122.
Not enough women receive flu and Tdap vaccines during each pregnancy.
- About 2 in 3 pregnant women do not receive both recommended vaccines.
- Babies less than 6 months old are at the highest risk of all children for hospitalization from influenza.
- 38% of pregnant women who didn’t get Tdap say they didn’t know the vaccine was needed in each pregnancy.
Healthcare Providers Should:
- Discuss the benefits of vaccination with pregnant women early and often.
- Strongly recommend flu and Tdap vaccines to pregnant women.
- Offer flu and Tdap vaccines to pregnant women, or provide referrals to other vaccination providers.
- Reinforce that vaccination is the best way to protect young babies from influenza and whooping cough.
Pregnant Women Should:
- Talk with their healthcare providers if they have any questions about flu and Tdap vaccines.
- Get a flu vaccine anytime during pregnancy.
- Get a Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of each pregnancy.
- To learn more: https://bit.ly/2yoUXAG
- Get a flu vaccine every year.
- Get a whooping cough vaccine as recommended.
- Be up to date on childhood vaccines: https://bit.ly/1cWkgte
- Be up to date on adult vaccines: https://bit.ly/1hNagRo
Flu vaccination during pregnancy lowers risk of influenza hospitalization in:
- Pregnant women by an average of 40%
- Babies less than 6 months old by an average of 72%
Tdap vaccination during pregnancy lowers risk of:
- Whooping cough in babies less than 2 months old by 78%
- Hospitalization due to whooping cough in babies less than 2 months old by 91%
Related Pages and Resources
- Vital Signs: Press Release – Low rates of vaccination during pregnancy leave moms, babies unprotected
- Vital Signs: Press Release – Tasas bajas de vacunación durante el embarazo dejan a mamás y bebés sin protección [Spanish]
- Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR): Vital Signs: Burden and Prevention of Influenza and Pertussis Among Pregnant Women and Infants — United States
- CDC Pregnancy and Vaccines
- Vaccines for Your Children
- CDC Pregnancy and Whooping Cough
- CDC Pregnant Women and Influenza
- Recommended Vaccines for Adults
Science Behind the Issue
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Publication date: October 8, 2019