Vaccines During Pregnancy: What's Recommended and What to Avoid
Talk to your doctor which vaccines you should consider during pregnancy. There are a few that may help protect you and your baby from illness. There are also a few that are best to avoid while you’re expecting.
Recommended Vaccines During Pregnancy
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends these vaccines during pregnancy to help keep you and your baby healthy:
The inactivated influenza vaccine is usually available starting at the beginning of each flu season. This vaccine helps your body build an immune response called antibodies to the flu virus. If you get this vaccine while pregnant, the antibodies can even pass to your baby to help build their immune response too.
The Tdap vaccine helps protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis—three potentially dangerous diseases. Pertussis is also known as whooping cough, which can be life-threatening for a newborn.
ACOG recommends every pregnant person get the Tdap vaccine, preferably between weeks 27 and 36 of pregnancy. With that timing, you may pass some antibodies to your baby that last after they’re born.
The respiratory syncytial virus is common and for many people, the symptoms are mild like a cold. But RSV can be severe in babies. It’s the most common reason for infants to be hospitalized in the U.S.
The RSV vaccine is for pregnant people that are 32 to 36 weeks pregnant from September to January, the season the virus is most common. It gives the baby protection after they’re born. You may be able to choose whether you’d like to get the RSV vaccine toward the end of your pregnancy or whether you’d prefer your baby get an RSV injection called nirsevimab as a newborn.
The COVID-19 vaccine is considered safe at any during pregnancy, and it’s considered beneficial too. Pregnant people have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and getting the vaccine may help protect you and your baby from severe infection.
ACOG recommends staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccines to Avoid During Pregnancy
There are a few vaccines that ACOG says to avoid during pregnancy. These are:
The human papillomavirus vaccine isn’t typically given during pregnancy, but if you accidentally got it while pregnant, there's no need for concern. The HPV vaccine is considered safe to get postpartum and when breastfeeding.
The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine. This type of vaccine isn’t recommended during pregnancy. You can get it after you deliver the baby if you haven’t had it before or don’t carry immunity.
Varicella is also known as chickenpox. This is also a live attenuated vaccine, so it’s not given during pregnancy. You can get it when you’re no longer pregnant if you haven’t had chickenpox or the vaccine before.
To make sure you’re getting the right vaccines at the right time, be sure to keep up with regular prenatal visits. Your provider can explain the options available and help ensure you’re getting the right vaccines to help protect you and your baby.
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