Pregnancy is such a special time for the entire expecting family. It is a time of planning and preparing for the birth of a precious child. It is also an important time to begin considering the steps you can take to keep your children healthy, from the moment they take their first breath. Did you know that your baby can be born with immunity to infectious diseases? By getting yourself vaccinated against diseases such as flu and whooping cough during your pregnancy, you are not only protecting yourself, but you are also passing immunity directly to your baby.

Before becoming pregnant: If you are planning to become pregnant, it’s important to make certain you are up-to-date on all of your vaccines. Vaccination against rubella (German measles) is particularly important, as the disease can cause unborn babies to have birth defects with devastating, lifelong consequences, or even die before birth. Before being vaccinated, women can have a pre-pregnancy blood test to see if they are immune to the disease. Most women were vaccinated as children with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, but you should confirm this with your doctor. If you need to get vaccinated against rubella, you should avoid becoming pregnant until one month after receiving the MMR vaccine and, ideally, not until your immunity is confirmed by a blood test.

If you are already pregnant: Did you know that your actions while you are pregnant can enable your baby to be born with protection against dangerous infectious diseases? By getting vaccinated while pregnant, you can pass on immunity to your child that will last until your little one is ready to begin his or her own vaccination series.

Your healthcare provider, including your OB-GYN or midwife, can tell you which vaccines are right for you throughout your pregnancy, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) all strongly recommend the following two vaccines for pregnant women:

Now is also good time to start thinking about the vaccines your baby will need once he or she is born. Learn more on the Vaccinate Your Family website and by viewing the Immunization Resources for Parents and Parents-to-Be (2017 Version) booklet, which is also available in Spanish.


Personal Stories

Brady R. Alcaide - A Pertussis Story

Brady was a healthy and happy baby born on November 20, 2011 and weighing in at 8 lb 6 oz. His parents, Jon and Kathy, thought they were taking every precaution to protect their baby. They even insisted that friends and family wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before they were permitted to pick him up. What they didn’t realize was that these actions wouldn’t be enough to protect their precious son from a dangerous disease called pertussis…


Callie Van Tornhout - A Pertussis Story

Craig and Katie Van Tornhout wanted nothing more than a younger sibling for their son, Cole. Callie was born on Christmas Eve 2009. Five weeks later she developed a dry cough that continually got worse. While at the pediatricians office she stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital. While in the pediatrics ICU, at 1:12am on January 30, 2010 she perished due to respiratory failure. Tests came back positive for pertussis…