Vaccines During Pregnancy — Are They Safe?

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Giving birth to a baby is one of the most profound, emotionally-rich and transformational experiences of your life. During pregnancy, you need to undergo different tests during prenatal visits. Though vaccinations are a vital part of normal healthcare, you may wonder if it is safe to get vaccinated during pregnancy. This is quite normal and you have every right to know about it.

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Normally, vaccines that contain killed i.e., inactivated viruses are given to women during pregnancy. Vaccines containing live viruses are not given.

During pregnancy, mainly two vaccines are recommended:

  • Flu shot

Flu or influenza shot is recommended to women who conceived during the flu season i.e., typically between November and March. As this vaccine is made from an inactivated virus, it is completely safe for the mother and the baby in the womb. Avoid influenza nasal spray vaccine as it is made from an active virus. The influenza shot protects you from infection and also helps in protecting your baby. It is recommended to pregnant women as they are more prone to severe flu than other women.

  • Tdap vaccine

Tdap vaccine i.e., tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis protects your baby from whooping cough, regardless of the fact when you had the last shot. One dose is recommended to pregnant women between the 27thand 36th week even if they were vaccinated before pregnancy.

Both the vaccines have great safety records which make them safe during pregnancy. Antibodies from mothers can save babies who are too young to get vaccinated.

During pregnancy, you need to avoid vaccines such as:

  • MMR (Measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine
  • Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine
  • Varicella-zoster (Shingles) vaccine

If you are planning a pregnancy, talk to your doctor regarding the vaccinations you need to take before getting pregnant. Vaccines that contain live viruses should be taken at least one month prior to conceiving. And if you are pregnant and have been vaccinated before, you should be well aware of the vaccines taken so that you can provide a record of the immunizations to your doctor.

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