Pregnancy and Vaccine Safety

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Learn how to take the guesswork out of vaccine safety.

Vaccine safety during pregnancy can get confusing. Some vaccines are recommended for pregnant women because they help keep moms-to-be and their developing babies healthy. However, other vaccines could be potentially harmful to the baby. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sheds light on what vaccines are needed before, during and after your pregnancy.

Nine+ Months of Protection

You should get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at least one month before pregnancy. Rubella is a serious disease that can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects. Most people are vaccinated when they’re children. Before you start trying to get pregnant, discuss this vaccine with your doctor. If you need the MMR vaccine, the CDC recommends that you delay pregnancy for one month after you receive it.

The flu shot can be given before or during pregnancy. To help protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), you should get the Tdap vaccine during your pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and planning on traveling abroad, you may need certain vaccinations. Talk to your doctor four to six weeks before your trip to discuss any special precautions or vaccines you may need. Vaccination after you give birth will help protect you and your baby from getting sick. Because mothers pass antibodies to their babies through breast milk, vaccination after pregnancy is especially important if you did not receive certain vaccines before or during your pregnancy, such as vaccines for the measles, mumps and rubella, chickenpox and whooping cough.

For easy reference, take a look at the following timeline, which outlines what vaccines your physician may recommend and when.

Before Pregnancy

  • MMR vaccine, as needed, at least one month before pregnancy

During Pregnancy

  • Tdap vaccine
  • Flu
  • Traveler’s vaccines, per doctor recommendations

After Pregnancy

  •  Chickenpox

Vaccines to Avoid During Pregnancy

Some vaccines should not be administered during pregnancy because they may be harmful to the baby. These vaccines include:

  • HPV vaccine
  • MMR vaccine
  • Chickenpox vaccine

Remember, your vaccine needs may vary based on your personal health and vaccination history. Be sure to discuss each vaccine with your OB-GYN before getting vaccinated.

Whether you’re a first-time mom or experienced at giving birth, prenatal education classes can put expectant mothers at ease. Barstow Community Hospital offers a 4-week childbirth class for expectant moms and their partners. The class covers: what to expect, breathing strategies, interventions (epidural and cesarean sections), post-partum care, and infant care. To register for an upcoming childbirth class, call (760) 957‑3323.