Vaccines That Are Safe (Or Recommended) During Pregnancy

Despite what some may think, many vaccines are safe and even recommended during pregnancy. Some will even provide babies with some immunity before they are even born. Some of the vaccines that pregnant women are recommended to get include flu shots, the Hepatitis B vaccine, and the Tdap vaccine. Whether you are currently expecting or planning on becoming pregnant, speak with your doctor about the vaccines you may need.

The flu shot

The CDC recommends that all pregnant women receive a flu shot during flu season. This is because pregnancy can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick or experiencing complications. The flu has been known to cause pre-term labor or preterm birth, which can be dangerous to your baby and you.

Additionally, getting a flu shot during pregnancy can also help protect your newborn baby from the flu for up to 6 months after birth.

The Tdap vaccine

The Tdap vaccine protects against three diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough). These diseases can be very serious for infants, so it is recommended that pregnant women receive the Tdap vaccine at some point during pregnancy. Whooping cough is especially dangerous for babies and can be easily contracted after they have been born, so speak with your doctor about the right time to get your Tdap vaccine.

It is recommended that you get a Tdap vaccine in every pregnancy to protect your unborn child. According to the CDC, more babies will be hospitalized for whooping cough if they are vaccinated after birth rather than during pregnancy. The Tdap vaccine is safe for both you and your baby during pregnancy, so speak with your doctor about when to receive it.

  • The vaccine is typically administered in the third trimester of pregnancy, ideally between 28 and 36 weeks. This timing ensures that the highest level of antibodies is passed to the baby before birth.
  • While the Tdap vaccine is safe and effective, some women may experience mild side effects. These can include redness or swelling at the injection site, mild fever, or body aches.
  • Some pregnant women may worry about thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in some vaccines. However, the Tdap vaccine supplied in single-dose vials does not contain thimerosal.
  • You should discuss the Tdap vaccine with your healthcare provider to understand the benefits and risks associated with it and decide the best time for you to receive the vaccine during your pregnancy.

Other vaccines your doctor may recommend

There are some other vaccines that your doctor may recommend you get while you are pregnant. These include the Hepatitis B vaccine, which protects against a serious liver infection that can be transmitted to your baby during childbirth, and the COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective for pregnant women, with studies showing that it not only protects the mother but also passes on important antibodies to the baby.

The Hepatitis B vaccine

Hepatitis B is a virus that can cause liver damage and even liver cancer. Immunity should be verified at the beginning of pregnancy. Pregnant women who are infected with the virus can pass it on to their babies during childbirth. That is why it is recommended for pregnant women who are at risk of contracting hepatitis B to speak with their doctor about getting vaccinated. The vaccine is safe during pregnancy and can help protect both you and your baby from the virus.

The COVID-19 vaccine

As the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, pregnant women or those who plan on becoming pregnant are encouraged to get vaccinated against the virus. It is known that many women are more likely to get sick during pregnancy or after giving birth. Not only does the vaccine protect the mother from experiencing severe illness, but it also passes on important antibodies to the baby. This is especially important since newborns are unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine themselves. Speak with your doctor about the best time to get vaccinated and any concerns you may have.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

There is only one vaccine that is approved during pregnancy to protect your baby against RSV. This is known as the RSVpreF (Abrysvo) vaccine. Specifically, this vaccine prevents lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) associated with RSV. It is recommended that pregnant women get the RSVpreF (Abrysvo) vaccine between 32 weeks 0 days through 36 weeks 6 days. Speak with your doctor about whether you may benefit from this vaccine during pregnancy.

Vaccines to avoid during pregnancy

While there are many safe and recommended vaccines during pregnancy, there are some that should be avoided. These include the following.

  • Live virus vaccines such as the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, chickenpox vaccine, and certain types of flu vaccines should never be given during pregnancy.
  • The HPV vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women, but it is safe to receive before becoming pregnant.
  • The shingles vaccine is also not recommended during pregnancy.

It’s essential to speak with your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have about vaccines during pregnancy. They can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information based on your medical history and help you make an informed decision.

Pregnancy care at Women’s Healthcare Associates

Vaccines are an important tool in protecting both mother and baby during pregnancy. While there may be some concerns about receiving vaccines while expecting, it is important to speak with your doctor and understand the benefits and risks associated with each vaccine.

At WHA in Amarillo, our goal is to provide you with the best experience in care. We are focused on the health and well-being of all our patients. Our prenatal care services include exams, sonograms, and more. To learn more about how our comprehensive women’s healthcare can help you, please give us a call at (806) 355-6330!

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