|Immunizations During Pregnancy|
At your first prenatal visit, your provider will test to see if you are immune to rubella (German measles) and varicella (chicken pox). Most people will have had the immunization for rubella as children. Some people will have had the chicken pox and be immune to the illness, and some people will have had the vaccine. If you are not immune to rubella or varicella, you will receive the vaccination after the baby is born on the post-partum floor. These two vaccinations are not safe to receive during pregnancy.
There are two immunizations that your provider will recommend for you during your pregnancy. If you are pregnant between October and February it is important that you receive the influenza vaccine. Pregnant women who do catch the flu tend to have more complications and can become much more ill than non-pregnant women. The flu shot is safe during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should not receive the flu mist (the nasal spray) because it contains live virus. The second immunization that your provider will recommend that you receive during your pregnancy is the vaccination for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (TDaP). Even if you are up to date with this vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control now recommends that all pregnant women receive the TDaP vaccine with each pregnancy between 28-36 weeks. Research has shown that not only is this vaccine safe, but if women receive this vaccine at 28 weeks, there is some placental transfer of the antibodies to pertussis (whooping cough). This helps to protect the infant after birth and before the infant can receive the vaccination for pertussis.
It is also important for all family members and caretakers of the infant to be up to date with the flu vaccine and TDaP immunization. If each person who has contact with the infant is vaccinated, then the baby is unlikely to be exposed to these illnesses and is protected during the first months of life.Some women will have started the series of vaccinations for the human papillomavirus (HPV) before becoming pregnant. If additional shots are scheduled during the pregnancy, they can be postponed until after the baby is born. For most healthy women, there are no other vaccinations that should be offered or needed during pregnancy. Always ask your care provider before receiving any additional vaccinations.
Summary of Recommendations