Vaccines for Pregnant Women
Vaccines can help keep you and your growing family healthy. If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the specific vaccinations you need are determined by factors such as your age, lifestyle, medical conditions you may have, such as asthma or diabetes, type and locations of travel, and previous vaccinations. If possible, make sure that your immunizations are up to date before becoming pregnant.Some vaccine-preventable diseases, such as rubella, can pose a serious risk to your health and that of your unborn baby. But, you can’t get the vaccine to prevent rubella if you are currently pregnant.
Vaccine Safety Before, During and After Pregnancy
CDC has guidelines for the vaccines you need before, during, and after pregnancy. Some vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, should be given a month or more before pregnancy. You should get some vaccines, like Tdap (to protect against whooping cough), during your pregnancy. Other vaccines, like the flu shot, can be given before or during pregnancy, depending on whether or not it’s flu season when you’re pregnant. It is safe for a woman to receive vaccines right after giving birth, even while she is breastfeeding. Be sure to discuss each vaccine with your health care professional before getting vaccinated.
Your Vaccination History
It’s important for you to keep an accurate record of your immunizations. Sharing this information with your pre-conception and prenatal health care professional will help determine which vaccines you’ll need during pregnancy. If you or your doctor does not have a current record of your immunizations, you can try:
- Asking your parents or other caregivers if they still have your school immunization records. Ask them which childhood illnesses you’ve already had – which sometimes provides immunity in adulthood.
- Contacting your previous health care providers or other locations that you may have received vaccines at, e.g. the health department, work, or pharmacies that you have received vaccinations from.
For more information on finding your vaccination records, see CDC’s Vaccination Records . Even if you can’t track down your records, your health care professional can still protect your health and that of your unborn baby by recommending vaccines appropriate for you.
Important Vaccines to Consider for Women Planning a Pregnancy
Vaccines Before Pregnancy
Rubella (German measles): Rubella infection in pregnant women can cause unborn babies to have serious birth defects with devastating, life-long consequences, or even die before birth. Make sure you have a pre-pregnancy blood test to see if you are immune to the disease. Most women were vaccinated as children with the combination measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR) but you should confirm this with your doctor. If you need to get vaccinated for rubella, you shouldavoid becoming pregnant until one month after receiving the MMR vaccine and, ideally, not until your immunity is confirmed by a blood test.