Pregnancy is such a special time for the entire expecting family. It is a time of planning and preparing for the birth of a child. It is also important to begin considering the steps you can take to help keep yourself and your child protected from vaccine-preventable diseases now and throughout your baby’s life.
If you are planning to become pregnant, there are things you can do before and between pregnancies to increase your chances of having a healthy baby such as taking folic acid every day; quitting smoking, alcohol and street drugs; and making sure you are up-to-date on all recommended vaccines. Learn more.
When you get vaccinated during pregnancy, you are not only protecting yourself against dangerous, potentially deadly infectious diseases – but you are also passing immunity directly to your unborn baby, offering some early protection from dangerous diseases. When a pregnant woman receives vaccines, her body creates protective antibodies (immunity against diseases) and passes some of them to her unborn child that will last until the little one is ready to begin his or her own vaccinations.
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 influenza (flu) and Tdap (whooping cough) vaccines for pregnant women.
Getting the flu can cause serious health problems for pregnant women and their babies. Learn how getting vaccinated against flu during pregnancy is safe and keeps mom and baby protected.
Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) can cause serious illness in people of all ages, but it is particularly dangerous for young babies. This is why pregnant women are recommended to receive a Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, during the 3rd trimester of every pregnancy. Learn how getting vaccinated against whooping cough during pregnancy keeps mom and baby protected.
Pregnancy is also good time to start thinking about the vaccines your baby will need once he or she is born. Your little one will get his first vaccine before leaving the hospital.
Visit the Babies & Children section to learn more about the importance of vaccinating your child according to recommended immunization schedule, and have your questions about vaccines answered by visiting the Questions About Vaccines section and by viewing VYF’s Immunization Resources for Parents and Parents-to-Be resource.
Question about why vaccines are needed if you are breastfeeding? See the answer in the Commonly Asked Questions section below.