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Recommended before Pregnancy

pregnant womanBefore becoming pregnant, you should be up-to-date on routine adult vaccines. This will help protect you and your child. Generally speaking, live vaccines should not be given within a month before conception, while inactivated (killed) vaccines may be given at any time before or during pregnancy, if needed.

It is very important for women to be up-to-date on their measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before becoming pregnant.Rubella infection in pregnant women can cause unborn babies to have serious birth defects with devastating, life-long consequences, or even die before birth. You can have a pre-pregnancy blood test to see if you are immune to the disease. You probably received the MMR vaccine as a child, but you should confirm this with your doctor. If you need to get an MMR vaccine, 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.

Before your pregnancy, talk to your doctor about your vaccine history and make sure you are up-to-date.

Recommended during Pregnancy

There are 2 vaccines routinely recommended during pregnancy: flu and Tdap.

It is safe and very important for a woman who is pregnant during flu season to receive the inactivated flu vaccine. A pregnant woman who gets the flu is at risk for serious complications and hospitalization. Pregnant woman with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery.  For more information, see Key Facts on Seasonal Flu Vaccine and talk with your doctor or midwife.

Women should get adult tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) during each pregnancy. Ideally, the vaccine should be given 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 pertussis.  Whooping cough can be life-threatening for infants. Tdap is also recommended for others who spend time with infants.  For more information, see Pertussis Prevention  and talk with your doctor or midwife.

Recommended after Pregnancy

It is safe for a woman to receive vaccines right after giving birth, even while she is breastfeeding. New mothers who have never received Tdap, should be vaccinated right after delivery. Also, a woman who is not immune to measles, mumps and rubella and/or varicella (chickenpox) should be vaccinated before leaving the hospital.

Did you know that your baby gets disease immunity (protection) from you during pregnancy? But this protection is temporary and only for the diseases that you are immune to. Protect your new baby and learn about infant immunization.

Pregnant Women and International Travel

Many vaccine-preventable diseases, rarely seen in the United States, are still common in other parts of the world. A pregnant woman planning international travel should talk to her health professional about vaccines. For more information, see Traveling while Pregnant, found on CDC’s Travelers’ Health website.

Read more about vaccines and pregnancy at the CDC’s site

Also, visit Flu.gov for more information about pregnancy and influenza.