Health Issues for Women

What Vaccines Are Needed During Pregnancy and Why?

After you discover you are pregnant, your life immediately changes. Every decision made from here on out not only affects you but the life inside of you, as well. You want to do all you can to ensure your baby’s healthy growth, including proper diet, exercise, and regular check-ups. Another important element to consider is making sure you are up-to-date on important vaccines. When it comes to you and your baby, keeping up with certain vaccines can help both of you stay healthy, both during and after pregnancy.

Recommended Vaccines During Pregnancy

Certain vaccines are safe and recommended for anyone who is pregnant. The antibodies developed from vaccines will help protect the parent from serious diseases and protect the baby from developing these diseases after birth. Specific vaccines are recommended based on a variety of factors, including age, lifestyle, previous medical history, the likelihood of travel, and previously given vaccines, but here are the main vaccines suggested for anyone who is pregnant:

  • Flu Vaccine – The flu vaccine can protect you and your baby from experiencing flu-related health complications for several months after childbirth. When people contract the flu during pregnancy, their newborns are significantly more likely to experience adverse outcomes, including premature birth and low birth rate. Infants under six months old who contract this disease are more at risk for hospitalization and death than children at any other age. Flu season varies but getting the vaccine by early fall is optimal. However, even if the shot is given later into flu season, it can still prove beneficial.

  • Tdap Vaccine – This vaccine helps to protect against three separate diseases: pertussis (also known as whooping cough), tetanus, and diphtheria. Newborn babies are particularly prone to pertussis, a highly contagious and life-threatening disease. Tetanus can paralyze muscles necessary for breathing while diphtheria can also restrict breathing, and both diseases can be fatal. The Tdap vaccine can be administered at any time, but 27-36 weeks is the optimal window of time.

  • COVID-19 Vaccine – According to the CDC, evidence suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for pregnant women. Pregnant women are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 than others, so the vaccine provides an option for extra protection from this virus. Additionally, it builds antibodies that may also help protect the baby.

When it comes to determining what vaccines are right for you and your baby, your OBGYN will be able to talk through all the different options that directly relate to your lifestyle and other factors. There are certain vaccines that should be avoided during pregnancy, and your health care professional will be able to explain the reasons fully, as well as offer helpful suggestions.

If you did not get these vaccines while pregnant, they can still be administered after birth and are still safe for those who are breastfeeding. Your OBGYN can answer any additional questions or concerns you may have when it comes to protecting the health of you and your baby.