Many vaccines are safe for pregnant women and may prevent serious illness for their unborn children. Vaccines to prevent the seasonal influenza (flu) virus and pertussis (whooping cough) are recommended for pregnant women because of the high risk those diseases pose to infants. The Tdap vaccine for pertussis also protects against tetanus and diphtheria. Other vaccines may be recommended in certain high-risk situations.
The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children as well as breastfeeding mothers and can be given during any trimester. The flu vaccine has been given safely to millions of pregnant women over the past 45 years and is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the CDC. Vaccinating women against the flu can protect the mother and may help her baby by preventing the spread of the flu from mother to child after delivery. Pregnant women should get the inactivated vaccine.
Note: The nasal spray version of the flu shot contains live attenuated virus and should not be given to pregnant women.
Vaccines Routinely Recommended during Pregnancy:
The Tdap vaccine is also safe for pregnant women and their unborn children as well as breastfeeding mothers. Pregnant women who have not previously gotten the vaccine should get the shot during each pregnancy between 27 weeks and 36 weeks gestation. If they miss the vaccine during pregnancy and have never had a Tdap before, it should be given before they leave the hospital or birthing center.
For more information on vaccines you may need while pregnant or breastfeeding see CDC’s Immunization and Pregnancy chart. Talk to your health care provider about which vaccines you may need during pregnancy.