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Pregnancy and Vaccinations


Updated October 02, 2012

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While no conclusive evidence exists that vaccines are harmful for developing fetuses, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pregnant women should only receive immunizations if:

  • The vaccine is not deemed harmful to pregnant women and their babies
  • Exposure to disease risk for mother and baby is high
  • Resulting infection from disease would be high risk for mother or baby

The United States only recommends three types of vaccines for use during pregnancy: tetanus, diphtheria, and influenza. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) women past their second trimester of pregnancy are at increased risk for complications and even hospitalization from influenza. Hence, the CDC recommends that pregnant women get an influenza vaccine during flu season.

Other types of vaccines, such as Hepatitis A or B, or pneumococcal immunization, should be given to you only if you're at high risk of catching these diseases. Your doctor will carefully balance the risk of you becoming infected versus the benefit of immunization, and select a vaccine that poses the least possible risk of complication.

No live virus vaccines should be administered to you if you're pregnant unless the likelihood of catching a disease is very probable, and the effects of the disease are a greater threat to you and your unborn baby than the risks associated with the live virus vaccine. You need to be aware of this fact in the event that you had a live virus vaccine in the very early stages, before you learned you were pregnant. In that event, consult your physician so that he can monitor you and your baby accordingly.

Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccines are all potentially harmful to pregnant women and their developing babies. It's important to ensure that all your immunizations are up to date before you become pregnant. Make a point to speak with your doctor about your immunization needs as soon as you begin thinking about getting pregnant, or if you're sexually active and might become pregnant inadvertently.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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