If you are are trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding you are probably wondering which vaccines would be the safest for you and their risks and benefits, so we have outlined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for vaccines.
Pregnancy can normally make your immune system slightly weaker than normal, and can increase your risk of getting infections that can be harmful to you and your baby. These infections can cause adverse effects such as birth defects, preterm labour, and pregnancy loss. Simple precautions such as vaccinations are an easy and effective way to protect you both.
Can I get vaccinated when trying to conceive?
The straightforward answer is, YES! When trying to get pregnant it is important to check that your vaccinations are up to date, because live vaccines are contraindicated during pregnancy.
In addition to the routine vaccinations such as tetanus and polio, women looking to get pregnant should have immunity against hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), chickenpox (varicella), whooping cough (pertussis) and flu (influenza). Chickenpox (varicella), MMR and polio vaccinations should be done at least 3 months before pregnancy.
Can I get vaccinated during pregnancy?
It depends. Killed virus, toxoid or recombinant vaccines like influenza and whooping cough vaccines can be given during pregnancy. But live and live attenuated vaccines (chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, HPV and polio) are not allowed because of the potential risk of infecting the baby.
If you are unable to get the live vaccinations prior to pregnancy, you should get it as soon as possible after the birth of your baby.
Can I get vaccinated while breastfeeding?
Absolutely! It is safe to receive routine vaccines right after giving birth, and while breastfeeding; having this immunity will reduce the likelihood of passing on these illnesses to your baby. However, you should talk to your health care provider if you are considering the yellow fever vaccine.
Whichever stage you find yourself in, always confide in your doctor about the best option for you.
Pregnancy and vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/pregnant-women/resources.html.
Recommended adult immunization schedule for ages 19 or older, United States, 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/index.html.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee Opinion No. 718: Update on immunization and pregnancy: Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccination. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2017; doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002301.
Guidelines for vaccinating pregnant women. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/hcp-toolkit/guidelines.html.