Your immunity protects both you and your unborn baby (fetus). After you have been immunized (vaccinated) against or infected by a virus or bacteria, your body forms an immunity to it. Full immunity can protect you from future infection, either for a lifetime or a limited period. Partial immunity strengthens how well your body can fight that infection.
Before you become pregnant, be sure to review your immunization history with your doctor. Even if you had a vaccine as a child, it doesn't guarantee that you are now fully immune. It depends on the virus or bacteria.
Rubella, measles, mumps, and chickenpox can harm a growing fetus. They can cause birth defects, fetal death, or premature birth. Chickenpox can also be dangerous for you when you're pregnant.
If you don't know if you're immune to rubella, measles, or chickenpox, talk to your doctor about a blood test for antibodies to that virus. If you aren't immune, have the vaccination before you get pregnant. To allow time for your body to develop antibodies to the virus, keep using birth control for at least 4 weeks after the vaccination.footnote 1
Flu, COVID-19, and whooping cough (pertussis) are dangerous diseases for newborns and young infants. The flu and COVID-19 can also be dangerous for you when you're pregnant. Getting the flu, COVID-19, and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccines during pregnancy is considered safe for your fetus. And these vaccines protect both you and your newborn. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Guidelines for Vaccinating Pregnant Women. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/preg-guide.htm.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2010). Influenza vaccination during pregnancy. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 468. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 116(4): 1006–1007.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Immunization, Infectious Disease, and Public Health Preparedness Expert Work Group (2020, updated 2021). Practice advisory: COVID-19 vaccination considerations for obstetric–gynecologic care. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-advisory/articles/2020/12/covid-19-vaccination-considerations-for-obstetric-gynecologic-care. Accessed August 4, 2021.
Current as of:
February 23, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: John Pope MD - PediatricsAdam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: February 23, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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