Pregnancy is such a special time for the entire expecting family. It is a time of planning and preparing for the birth of a child. It is also important to begin considering the steps you can take to help keep yourself and your baby protected from vaccine-preventable diseases – now and throughout your child’s life.
If you are planning to become pregnant, there are things you can do before and between pregnancies to increase your chances of having a healthy baby such as taking folic acid every day; quitting smoking, alcohol and street drugs; and making sure you are up-to-date on all recommended vaccines. Learn more.
Vaccines are a part of a healthy pregnancy. When you get vaccinated during pregnancy, you are not only protecting yourself against dangerous, potentially deadly diseases, you are also passing some protection (immunity) *directly* to your baby.
When a pregnant woman gets vaccinated, her body creates protective antibodies (immunity against diseases) and passes some of these antibodies to her baby that will last until her little one is ready to start getting their own vaccines.
Your OB-GYN or midwife can tell you which vaccines are right for you throughout your pregnancy, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP); and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) all strongly recommend the influenza (flu) and Tdap (whooping cough) vaccines for pregnant women. Take a look at the “Immunization for Pregnant Women: A Call to Action” from AAFP, ACOG, ACNM and AWHONN.
Flu Vaccine – The flu can cause serious health problems for pregnant women and their babies. Learn how getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy is safe and keeps both you and your baby protected from flu and its serious complications.
Tdap Vaccine – Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) can cause serious illness in people of all ages, but it is particularly dangerous for young babies. This is why pregnant women are recommended to get a Tdap vaccine during the 3rd trimester of every pregnancy. Learn how getting the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy is safe and keeps you and your baby protected from whooping cough and its possibly serious complications, including hospitalization and death.
COVID-19 Vaccine – Pregnant women have a higher risk for more severe illness from COVID-19 than nonpregnant women. If you are in one of the groups recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine in your state, you may choose whether or not you want to be vaccinated. To help you decide, you can talk to your doctor about your risk of getting COVID-19 and your risk of severe illness if you get sick. A COVID vaccine may protect you from severe illness, which could help both you and your baby.
Pregnancy is also good time to start thinking about the vaccines your baby will need once they are born. Especially because your little one will need their first vaccine before leaving the hospital.
Questions about the safety of vaccinating during pregnancy? See answers below in Commonly Asked Questions About Vaccines for Pregnant Women, and find more answers to your questions about vaccines in the Questions About Vaccines section of this website.