For Women Planning a 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
Vaccines for Pregnant Women
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. During pregnancy, vaccinated mothers pass on protective antibodies—infection-fighting molecules—to their babies before they are born. This provides some immunity against certain vaccine-preventable diseases during their first few months of life, when your baby is still too young to be vaccinated. It also helps provide important protection for you throughout your pregnancy
During each pregnancy you should get the inactivated influenza (flu) vaccine (IIV) (flu shot) to protect yourself and your baby from the flu. It can be given during any trimester of pregnancy. A pregnant woman who gets the flu is at increased risk for serious complications and hospitalization, compared to other adults. Pregnant women who have the flu can also have serious problems during pregnancy, including premature labor and delivery, which may pose a risk to the baby as well. When mothers are vaccinated during pregnancy, babies are also less likely to get the flu and to be hospitalized for serious flu-related complications like pneumonia (a lung infection) once they are born.
Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Vaccine
Pregnant women should also get the tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) during each pregnancy. Ideally, the vaccine should be given as early as possible in the third trimester, but it can be given anytime between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy in order for pertussis (whooping cough) protection to be passed on to the unborn child. This vaccine is important to help protect young babies from whooping cough (pertussis) before they are old enough to get vaccinated themselves. Whooping cough can be life-threatening for young babies—about half of babies who get whooping cough end up in the hospital. Tdap is also recommended for other adults, including elderly, who spend time with your baby.
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. For more information, visit CDC’s Traveler’s Health website.
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. For more information, see CDC’s answers to frequently asked questions on Pregnancy and Hepatitis B.
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. Take the Adult Vaccine Quiz for a customized printout of recommended vaccines that you can take to your next medical appointment