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Can Getting Immunizations Affect My Unborn Baby?


My workplace expects us to get several vaccines regularly. But I'm pregnant and scared of what the vaccines might do to my baby. Should I be concerned?
Emma

It's best to be vaccinated before pregnancy when possible, but some immunizations can be given while a woman is pregnant.

Flu shots are recommended for everyone during flu season, and especially for pregnant women. The vaccine is safe — studies show no harmful effects to a fetus. It also helps protect a mother and her baby from getting the flu in the baby's first year of life. Pregnant women should only get the shot made with the inactivated virus. The flu vaccine also comes in a nasal spray, but it contains a live form of the virus and isn't safe for moms-to-be.

The Tdap vaccine (against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) is now recommended for all pregnant women in the second half of each pregnancy, no matter if they've gotten it before or when it was last given. This is due to a rise in whooping cough infections, which can be fatal in newborns who have not yet had their routine vaccinations.

Some vaccines should not be given during pregnancy, such as the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR), human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and chickenpox (varicella) vaccine.

Before you get any vaccines during pregnancy, check with your doctor to make sure they're right for you.

Date reviewed: September 2019