Is it safe to get vaccinated during pregnancy?

Is it safe to get vaccinated during pregnancy?

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It depends on the type of vaccine you're considering. Doctors recommend that pregnant women not get vaccines that use live, attenuated (weakened) viruses, such as the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and chicken pox vaccines. But they strongly recommend that moms-to be do get these two: the flu (influenza) and Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis)vaccines.

Vaccines not recommended during pregnancy

Theoretically, the MMR vaccine could lead to a rubella (German measles) infection in a pregnant woman, but studies to date show the real risk to be nonexistent.

Coming down with rubella (German measles) during pregnancy is known to cause intellectual disability, deafness, eye problems, and heart defects in babies. But many women have received the MMR vaccine while pregnant and delivered healthy babies. If you got the MMR in the early weeks of your pregnancy before you knew you were carrying a child, keep in mind that the risk for birth defects is purely theoretical and has never been found to be real.

The measles and mumps parts of the MMR vaccine are also live, attenuated viruses. While some studies have shown that the infections can raise the risk of birth defects, this has not been proven. There's also some concern about a possible link between these infections and miscarriage. Again, the risk of contracting either measles or mumps from a vaccine is theoretical.

The chicken pox vaccine is also made from live, attenuated virus so it's best to avoid it during pregnancy. However, contracting chicken pox now can itself be dangerous for your baby. If you've never had the illness, see our article for steps to take to protect you and your baby.

Vaccines recommended during pregnancy

Two vaccines are specifically recommended for pregnant women: the flu (influenza) vaccine, which should be given during the first or second trimester of pregnancy; and the Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) vaccine, given when you're 27 to 36 weeks pregnant to guard against whooping cough (aka pertussis). Both have excellent safety records.

The flu vaccine is recommended because pregnant women are seven times more likely to come down with a severe and even fatal case of the flu than women of the same age who aren't pregnant.

The Tdap vaccine vaccine is recommended during pregnancy – even if you've had the shot before pregnancy. If you get the shot between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy, your body produces pertussis antibodies that you can pass on through the placenta to your unborn child.

Antibodies from moms save babies who are too young to get the vaccine. Every year in the United States, between 20 and 30 babies die from whooping cough, almost all of them younger than 2 months – the age at which babies receive their first Tdap shot.

Watch the video: Important Vaccines for Pregnant Women (August 2022).

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