Vaccines help protect you and your baby against serious diseases. You probably know that when you are pregnant, you share everything with your baby. That means when you get vaccines, you aren’t just protecting yourself—you are giving your baby some early protection too. CDC recommends you get a whooping cough and flu vaccine during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.
Measles cases and outbreaks have been reported in the U.S. in 2019. Measles can spread quickly in communities where people are not vaccinated. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected.
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 the Tdap vaccine (to help 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 is flu season when you’re pregnant. It is safe for you to receive vaccines right after giving birth, even while you are breastfeeding. Be sure to discuss each vaccine with your healthcare professional before getting vaccinated.
Vaccines During Pregnancy
Vaccines for Travel: If you are pregnant and planning international travel, you should talk to your doctor at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to discuss any special precautions or vaccines that you may need. Hepatitis B: A baby whose mother has hepatitis B is at highest risk for becoming infected with hepatitis B during delivery. Talk to your healthcare professional about getting tested for hepatitis B and whether or not you should get vaccinated. Additional Vaccines: Some women may need other vaccines before, during, or after they become pregnant. For example, if you have a history of chronic liver disease, your doctor may recommend the hepatitis A vaccine. If you work in a lab, or if you are traveling to a country where you may be exposed to meningococcal disease, your doctor may recommend the meningococcal vaccine.
Vaccines Before and After Pregnancy
Even before becoming pregnant, make sure you are up to date on all your vaccines. This will help protect you and your child from serious diseases. For example, rubella is a contagious disease that can be very dangerous if you get it while you are pregnant. In fact, it can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects. The best protection against rubella is MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, but if you aren’t up to date, you’ll need it before you get pregnant. 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 MMR vaccine, but you should confirm this with your doctor. If you need to get vaccinated for rubella, you should avoid becoming pregnant until one month after receiving the MMR vaccine and, ideally, not until your immunity is confirmed by a blood test. Did you know that your baby gets disease immunity (protection) from you during pregnancy? This immunity will protect your baby from some diseases during the first few months of life, but immunity decreases over time.