The vaccines you receive before and during pregnancy not only safeguard your health, but also the health of your growing fetus. In fact, your immunity is your baby’s first line of defense against infections.
It’s best to be vaccinated before your pregnancy when possible, but some immunizations can be given during pregnancy. These include the inactivated flu shot and the hepatitis B, meningococcus, rabies, and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines. Both the Tdap and flu vaccines are recommended during each pregnancy.
However, there are certain vaccines that should not be given during pregnancy because they contain live, though weakened, viruses, including:
- Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
- Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
Your doctor might recommend that you get immunized during pregnancy if all of the following are true:
- There’s a good chance that you could be exposed to a particular infection.
- The infection would pose a risk to you or your baby.
- The vaccine is unlikely to cause harm.
For example, flu shots are recommended for everyone during flu season, but especially for pregnant women because during flu season, exposure to the viruses is high and pregnant women, especially those in late pregnancy, are at an increased risk for severe symptoms from the flu. Lastly, it’s safe for pregnant women.
Before you get any vaccines during pregnancy, check with your doctor to make sure they are right for you.
(c) 2016. Article adapted from The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth(R). Used under license.