Which vaccines are safe to take during pregnancy, and which are recommended? These questions often arise among women who are or are considering becoming pregnant. Here are some guidelines for immunization during pregnancy.
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The seasonal flu vaccine is indicated for all women who are or will be pregnant during flu season, October through May. Pregnancy increases the risk of acquiring the flu and of developing serious complications from the flu.
The flu vaccine can safely be given at any point during a pregnancy. However, pregnant women should not receive the live attenuated vaccine (Flumist).
Thimerosal, a common vaccine preservative which contains mercury, has not been shown to cause adverse effects in children whose mothers were given vaccine containing the product.
TDaP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis)
Women who have not received a Tdap should receive it after 20 weeks of pregnancy. An increased incidence of whooping cough has prompted this recommendation since newborns are susceptible and cannot be vaccinated at birth. All contacts for the newborn should also be up to date on this vaccine.
For women who have never received the tetanus vaccine, three doses are required at 0, 1 and 6-12 months. One of these should be a Tdap, preferably the first.
If a woman is unsure about whether her last tetanus vaccination contained the pertussis component, the Tdap should be given. Before 2005, the vaccine would not have included the pertussis component.
Hepatitis A and B
Both Hepatitis A and B vaccines can be given during pregnancy if the patient is considered at risk. For instance, if a woman is starting clinical rotations for nursing school or medical school, she should clearly be vaccinated for Hepatitis B. The usual interval is 0, 1 and 6 months.
Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is not indicated during pregnancy but should be given before pregnancy if a woman is not immune to rubella. If non-immunity to rubella is discovered during pregnancy, the vaccine should be given postpartum.
The chicken pox vaccine is not indicated during pregnancy but can be given prior to pregnancy if a person is not immune. Of the patients who don't remember having chicken pox, 80% are immune, so checking titers is reasonable prior to vaccinating. The varicella vaccine has been in use for almost 20 years now but some patients may need boosters.
To learn more about your personal immunization options and needs during pregnancy, schedule an appointment with me or other skilled physicians at Randolph OB/GYN, using our online contact form or calling 704-333-4104.
Dr. Janice Naumann
The primary focus of Dr. Naumann's practice has always been, put the patient first.
She believes that what is going on in her patient's life is just as important
as the medical approach. See Dr. Naumann's
bio page here.
Vaccines during pregnancy are vital to protect both mother and baby.
Influenza,TDaP, and Hepatitis A and B are safe to give during pregnancy.