Vaccinations During Pregnancy: 5 Things To Know

It’s natural for pregnant mothers to share everything with their unborn babies during pregnancy. In fact, when a pregnant woman receives vaccines, she isn’t just protecting herself – she’s also protecting her unborn child. 

Antiviral Vaccination, Immunization. Mature medical worker sticking plaster bandage on patient’s shoulder after injection in health centre. Pregnant black woman getting vaccine for Covid prevention

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, understanding the importance of vaccinations during this phase is crucial. Your doctor will recommend the necessary vaccines. Other than the Tdap and Flu vaccines that the CDC recommends, any other vaccine that may be needed will be determined by your age, medical history, travel, lifestyle, and previous vaccinations. 

Many pregnant women are hesitant about getting vaccinated due to concerns about potential risks to the fetus. It’s essential to recognize that vaccines are safe and effective and can help prevent serious illnesses in both mother and baby. Here are some things to know about vaccinations during pregnancy:

  • Vaccinations During Pregnancy Protect Both The Mother And Baby

Vaccines work by imitating an infection to protect against certain diseases. As a result of imitation infection, the immune system learns how to fight off future infections. When a pregnant woman receives certain vaccines, her body develops antibodies that can cross the placenta and shield the baby after birth. For instance, the Tdap and flu vaccines are recommended during pregnancy by the CDC. These antibodies can protect the newborn against diseases like whooping cough and flu during the early months of life when the child is too young to receive these vaccines.

  • Safety And Side Effects Of Vaccines During Pregnancy

The flu and Tdap vaccines are deemed safe for pregnant mothers and babies by the CDC. However, like all medicines, vaccines can have side effects. Most vaccinated individuals experience mild or no side effects. Still, there are some dangers of TDAP vaccine in pregnant moms. The most common dangers are fever, tiredness, swelling, and tenderness in the location of the shot.  That said, the CDC monitors vaccine safety continuously.

Pregnant woman with syringe ,Vaccinating A Pregnant Woman

Other than the Flu and Tdap vaccines, there are instances where other vaccines may be recommended during pregnancy. For example, if a pregnant mom works in a lab or plans to travel to a place with a high risk of meningococcal diseases. In that case, her health provider will advise that she gets vaccinated against meningococcal diseases. 

Plus, if she’s planning to travel internationally, she should talk with her doctor at least four to six weeks (about one and a half months) before her travel. This way, she will be advised on the necessary vaccines and any special precautions. 

Pregnant women with a history of liver disease should consult their doctor. They may be advised to get the hepatitis A vaccine. 

  • Flu Vaccine Can Help Protect You and The Baby 

While pregnant, the body undergoes many changes. Catching the flu can be more serious during this time because your immune system, heart, and lungs have changed. That means the risk of being hospitalized with flu or flu-related complications is higher during pregnancy. As you may be well aware, having a fever can have adverse outcomes. As such, it’s better to be safe.

Infants can easily catch the flu. It’s the same reason flu vaccination is advised for children six months and older. Pregnant mothers who get the flu vaccine pass the antibodies down to their unborn babies. This way, after birth, babies are protected from the flu for the first few months of their lives and when they are too young to be vaccinated. 

Luckily, the flu vaccine can be taken anytime. But the best time to get the shot is during the flu season. Be sure to get the inactivated flu vaccine, I.e., the injection, not the live nasal flu vaccine.

  • The Importance Of Timing For Vaccinations During Pregnancy

Timing is a crucial aspect of vaccinations during pregnancy. The CDC recommends receiving the flu vaccine around September or October when flu activity is high or during the early months of July and August for pregnant women in their third trimester. This strategy ensures protection before flu activity increases.

On the other hand, the Tdap vaccine should ideally be administered between the 27th  and the 36th week of the pregnancy, regardless of previous vaccinations. This timing provides passive immunity to the newborn, protecting them from potentially fatal diseases like whooping cough.

  • The Risk Of Whooping Cough

Whooping cough can be life-threatening for newborns, causing death in seven out of ten babies younger than two months. Not to mention they’re too young to get vaccines. Unfortunately, knowing if a baby is suffering from whooping cough can sometimes be tricky. This is because some babies may cough a lot while others don’t. Instead, these babies will stop breathing and turn blue. 

The people around these infants, that is, siblings, parents, and even the caregivers who have whooping cough, can easily infect the babies. This is especially true if they don’t know they’re sick, seeing as whooping cough often causes mild symptoms in adults and older kids. 

When a pregnant mother gets the Tdap vaccine, her body develops antibodies and passes it to the unborn baby through the placenta. These antibodies will offer early protection against whooping cough for babies during the first months of their lives. It’s important to note that this vaccine should be taken with each pregnancy. 


Vaccinations during pregnancy serve as a tool for protecting both the mother and the baby from infectious diseases. However, pregnant women should consult their doctors to determine which vaccines are recommended and when they should be received. CDC recommends that expecting mothers receive the flu and Tdap vaccinations. The two will protect them and their child from flu and whooping cough, which can be life-threatening for newborns. The woman’s lifestyle, age, medical condition, and previous vaccinations will determine any other vaccine needed.

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