Vaccination During Pregnancy

Woman taking a vaccination shot during pregnancy

Vaccinations are an important part of normal healthcare, and help prevent a number of diseases, such as the flu, hepatitis, and chicken pox. When you are pregnant, these vaccines protect you and your baby. There are several vaccines that are recommended during pregnancy to protect both the expecting mom and her baby.

However, it is important to keep in mind that some vaccines need to be received before pregnancy, while others are safe during pregnancy. Before receiving any vaccinations while pregnant, you should know which vaccinations you have already. In order to do this, you can use your school immunization records, as well as shot records from any clinics, pharmacies, or healthcare providers where you may have received immunizations. In addition, if you plan to travel abroad, it is important to check with your healthcare provider to see which, if any, vaccinations you may need for that country, and which are safe to receive during pregnancy.

Vaccination Before Pregnancy

Woman taking a vaccination before pregnancy

MMR–most individuals in America are vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella as children. However, if you have not received this vaccination, it is important to do so, as rubella particularly can cause serious, life-long complications for the baby. It is recommended that you receive the rubella vaccination at least one month before trying to become pregnant. TDap–the TDap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis). This vaccine can be used either before pregnancy or after the 20th week of  pregnancy.

Varicella–also known as chicken pox, varicella is a common childhood illness that if contracted during pregnancy can cause birth defects or complications with the pregnancy. As with MMR, this vaccine should be received at least one month in advance of attempting to become pregnant.

Vaccination During Pregnancy

Hepatitis B –Hep B is a serious liver disease that is spread through exposure to infected blood or bodily fluids. Mothers who have been diagnosed with hepatitis B are at high risk of passing the virus on to the baby. This vaccination will protect the baby from becoming infected. Flu–the flu vaccine is safe to receive at any point during pregnancy and is highly recommended during flu season (October-May). It is important to receive the inactive form of the virus (through a shot) rather than the live form (a nasal spray).

Pregnancy Vaccinations At a Glance

Vaccine

Before Pregnancy

During Pregnancy

After Pregnancy

MMR

X

X

TDap

X

X

X

Varicella

X

X

Hepatitis B

X

X

X

Flu

X

X

X

Vaccines and Autism

Several years ago, a study was published that claimed the MMR vaccine caused autism in children. Since then, numerous private and government health agencies have attempted to recreate this study, and achieved no results. The consensus reached by the medical community is that there is no link between this vaccination and the onset of autism.

It has been concluded that it is not only safe to immunize your child using the MMR vaccine, but also it is highly recommended by the majority of medical health professionals. Failing to do so can result in serious health repercussions for your baby.

Many women still fear the relationship between vaccines and autism, but yet have strong desires to protect their children.  They wrestle with getting vaccinated, avoiding vaccinations, or delaying vaccinations to a later date.  It is important that you look at the research and learn what is best for you and your baby. You will feel better about your decision with the more you know.

Compiled from the Following Sources

Autism and Vaccines. (n.d.). Retrieved August 11, 2014, from http://www.autismsciencefoundation.org/autismandvaccines.html

Concerns about Autism. (2014, March 26). Retrieved August 11, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism/

Harms, R. (2014, March 11). Vaccinations during Pregnancy: Are they safe? Retrieved August 11, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/vaccines-during-pregnancy/faq-20057799

Pregnant | Vaccines.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved August 11, 2014.

Vaccines for Pregnant Women. (2013, August 23). Retrieved August 11, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/pregnant.html

Vaccinations during Pregnancy. (2013, February 1). Retrieved August 11, 2014, from http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/vaccinations-during-pregnancy.aspx