Immunization Information For Pregnant Women

Vaccines help keep you and your growing family healthy. It is important to make sure that your immunizations are up to date. The flu and other vaccine-preventable diseases pose risks to you and your unborn baby.

What you should do

Know your vaccination history

Your primary care provider should have a record of all the immunizations you have received. Sharing this information with your pre-conception and/or prenatal healthcare professional will help determine which vaccines you will need during pregnancy. If your doctor does not have a current record of your immunizations:

  • Ask your parents or other caregivers if they still have your school immunization records. Ask them which childhood illnesses you have already had.
  • Contact your pediatrician's practice to see if they have any information.

Even if you cannot track down your records, your healthcare provider can still protect your health and that of your unborn baby by recommending vaccines appropriate for you.

Get vaccinated against the flu

Flu vaccine is safe and very important for pregnant women. A pregnant woman who gets the flu is at-risk for serious complications and pregnant women with the flu also have greater chances for serious problems for their unborn babies. These include premature labor and delivery.

Pregnant women can receive the flu shot at any time, during any trimester. In addition, because babies younger than 6 months of age are too young to receive flu vaccine, it is important that everyone who cares for a baby also gets a flu vaccine.

Although some people can be vaccinated against the flu with a nasal spray, this has not been approved for pregnant women. Pregnant women must get flu shots.

Discuss other important vaccines with your healthcare provider

  • Tdap (protects against pertussis, or whooping cough, among other illnesses). A dose of Tdap is recommended for all pregnant women during each pregnancy, ideally between 27 and 36 weeks.
  • MMR rubella, or German measles, among other illnesses.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine.

Create a cocoon for your baby

Doctors recommend that adults and adolescents who will be around infants be vaccinated with Tdap. This could include parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, and other child care providers. Tdap protects against, among other diseases, pertussis. Infants are too young to be fully immunized against pertussis, but an infant's exposure to the illness can be reduced if he or she only comes into contact with people who are vaccinated. This practice is called cocooning.