Nancy Messonnier, Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Pregnancy is an exciting and busy time. There are so many things to think about as you prepare for your new baby. Have you thought about vaccines yet? If you haven’t, now is the perfect time to find a pediatric provider so you can learn more about infant immunization. It’s also a good time to ask your ob/gyn about vaccines recommended during pregnancy.
Finding a pediatric provider early on will allow you to ask about the vaccines your newborn will need and get answers to any questions you may have. You don’t need to wait until your baby is born—many pediatric providers offer consultation visits to expectant parents.
Your pediatric provider may tell you that most parents vaccinate their children according to the recommended immunization schedule. Vaccination rates in the United States remain high, and less than 1 percent of children receive no vaccines. When parents like you follow CDC’s recommended immunization schedule, you are helping protect your baby from 14 diseases before he or she turns 2 years old. The diseases that can be prevented with vaccines can be very serious – even deadly – especially for infants and young children. This schedule is designed to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to these potentially life-threatening diseases.
You can also start protecting your developing baby now by getting vaccines that are recommended during pregnancy, such as the Tdap vaccine, which protects against whooping cough (pertussis), and a flu shot. These shots not only keep you healthy—they will also help protect your newborn during his or her first months of life.
As you get ready for your baby, you are likely spending a lot of time online researching all kinds of topics. It can be hard to know where to find credible information. One good source is CDC’s newly redesigned website for parents, which contains information about vaccines, vaccine-preventable diseases, how to make shots less stressful, vaccine safety, and more. CDC also has a new website about pregnancy and vaccination, which has helpful guidance for women who are expecting and their families.
The months before birth are full of anticipation about the new little life that will be joining your family. It’s also the perfect time to educate yourself about how vaccines can help keep that little life healthy and protected.