by Martine Tesone DNP, CNM, of Foothills Community Midwives

Did you know that getting vaccines during pregnancy not just protects you from infection but gives your baby some early protection too? After receiving vaccines, a mom-to-be creates protective antibodies and passes some of them on to her baby. These antibodies can give a newborn disease protection (immunity) during the first few months of life.

Recommended Vaccinations During Pregnancy

Vaccines can contain both live and killed (inactivated) viruses. Pregnant women should only get those made with inactivated viruses. Getting inactivated vaccines during your pregnancy will not put you at increased risk for pregnancy complications.

Pregnant women can safely receive inactivated vaccines, such as:

  • Flu Shot – Getting a flu shot during flu season is the best way for a pregnant woman to protect herself against the flu and protect her baby for several months after birth from flu-related complications. The flu shot vaccine is safe for moms-to-be, and studies show no harmful effects to a fetus. However, pregnant women should avoid the influenza nasal spray vaccine, which is made from a live virus.
  • Tdap Vaccine - The Tdap vaccine (against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) is recommended for all pregnant women — even if you’ve gotten one before. The Tdap vaccine can provide your baby short-term protection from whooping cough (pertussis) after birth. This is important because whooping cough can be life-threatening in newborns who are too young to be protected by their own routine vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women get a whooping cough shot during their 27th through 36th week of pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period.

However, before you get any vaccines during pregnancy, check with your health care provider to make sure they're right for you.

Vaccine Studies

Studies on the flu shot and Tdap vaccine have shown that they are beneficial for moms-to-be and their babies.

  • A 2018 study showed that getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40%.
  • A 2017 CDC study 7 found Tdap vaccination during the third trimester of pregnancy prevents more than 3 in 4 cases of whooping cough in babies younger than 2 months old.

Talk to Your Health Care Provider About Vaccinations During Pregnancy

Ask your health care provider about the vaccines you need during pregnancy to protect yourself and your baby.

Also, if you're planning a pregnancy, ask about any vaccines you might need beforehand. For example, some vaccines should be given a month or more before pregnancy if a pregnant woman didn’t get the vaccine as a child.

To make an appointment with Martine Tesone DNP, CNM, call Foothills Community Midwives at (303) 415-4045