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Can Getting Immunizations Affect My Unborn Baby?

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My workplace expects its employees to get several immunizations 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 your pregnancy when possible, but some immunizations can be given during pregnancy. These include vaccines like the inactivated flu shot (be sure not to get the nasal vaccine spray), hepatitis B, meningococcus, rabies, and tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. Both the Tdap vaccine and the flu vaccine are recommended during each pregnancy.

Some vaccines, such as those against measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox, should not be given during pregnancy.

A doctor might recommend that a pregnant woman get immunized during pregnancy if all of the following are true:

  • there's a good chance that she could be exposed to a particular infection
  • the infection would pose a risk to her or the baby
  • the vaccine is unlikely to cause harm

For example, flu shots are recommended for everyone during flu season, and especially for pregnant women, because:

  • during flu season, exposure to flu viruses is high
  • pregnant women — especially those in late pregnancy — are at increased risk for severe symptoms from the flu
  • the vaccines are safe for pregnant women

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

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: February 2013

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

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