Pregnant people who aren’t up-to-date on their immunizations may be susceptible to diseases that can harm them or the developing fetus. If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor about which vaccines you may need and whether you should get them now or wait until after your child is born.
Vaccines strengthen people's immune systems so their bodies can fight off serious infectious diseases. Vaccines also benefit society by preventing the spread of communicable diseases.
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Many people might not realize they aren't up-to-date on their immunizations and are susceptible to diseases that can harm them or the developing fetus. Pregnant people should talk to their physicians to figure out which vaccines they might need and whether they should get them during pregnancy or wait until after their child is born.
All vaccines are tested for safety under the supervision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccines are checked for purity, potency, and safety, and the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitor the safety of each vaccine for as long as it is in use. Some people might be allergic to an ingredient in a vaccine, such as eggs in the influenza vaccine, and should not receive the vaccine until they have talked to their doctors.
A number of vaccines, especially live-virus vaccines, should not be given to pregnant women because they might be harmful to the fetus. (A live-virus vaccine is made using the live strains of a virus.) Some vaccines can be given in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, while others should only be administered either at least three months before or immediately after the baby is born. Vaccines that are offered during pregnancy, such as the flu shot, are recommended for pregnant people.
Depending on the circumstances, your doctor will weigh the risks of vaccination against the benefits the vaccine can provide.
The following vaccines are considered safe to give to women who might be at risk of infection:
Side effects vary from none to those that can occur up to three weeks after vaccination. If you experience any severe side effects, be sure to tell your doctor:
Ask for a Vaccine Information Sheet, (VIS) on the vaccine you have received, or you may go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you have ever had chickenpox, you are immune. If you haven't had the chickenpox, you have likely received the Varicella vaccine. If you haven’t, you may still be immune. A blood test can make this determination. If you are non-immune and are exposed to active chickenpox, you need to call your doctor’s office for directions.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/01/2018.
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