Pregnancy normally lasts about nine months, but it can feel like a lifetime of discovery through the process. It is truly going through baby steps even before your little one gets here. The learning curve can be wide on what to do to protect you and your baby: what foods are best, vitamins to take, how much exercise and vaccines during pregnancy?
Talk with your health care provider to discuss health history, previous vaccines and what shots are advised if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. For those women who travel out of the country or at increased risk for certain infections, your provider may suggest other vaccines.
What you should know about shots
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the top seven things you need to know about shots and pregnancy:
- You aren’t just protecting yourself – vaccines during pregnancies give your baby some early protection too.
- If you get pregnant again, you’ll need vaccines again.
- Trying to conceive? Better pull out those vaccine records.
- Maternal vaccines are very safe…for you and your little ones
- Whooping cough can be dangerous for your baby, and you may not even know he or she has it.
- Catching the flu while pregnant can lead to serious pregnancy complications.
- Timing is everything! Flu seasons vary in their timing from season to season, but the CDC recommends getting your flu shot by the end of October.
Why do I need a shot for Whooping Cough?
The CDC also states that whooping cough (Pertussis) can be serious for anyone, but for a newborn, it can be life-threatening. Up to 20 babies die each year in the U.S. due to whooping cough. It is recommended that you should get the whooping cough vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy (preferably in the earlier part of this period). When you get the shot, your body will create protective antibodies and pass them along to your baby before birth. Adults who will spend time with your baby should also have the whooping cough vaccine.
Why do I need more vaccines if I get pregnant again?
Antibodies decrease over time and the ones you built-up during a first pregnancy are not high enough to give important protection for future babies. Be sure to get your whooping cough vaccine and flu shot each time you are pregnant.
What shots do you need when planning a pregnancy?
- If you are trying to have a baby, you need to know what your vaccine record looks like.
- Make an appointment with your doctor to talk about what you should do for a healthy pregnancy.
- Make sure you are current on all adult vaccines including MMR (measles-mumps-rubella). This is very important as rubella is very contagious and can be dangerous if you get it while pregnant. The MMR vaccine should be given at least one month before becoming pregnant.
Is it safe to get shots during pregnancy?
The answer is yes. It is safe to get the vaccines that are recommended during pregnancy. Like any medicines, shots can have side effects which are usually mild and go away on their own. If you have whooping cough and flu shots, you may experience:
- Pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Muscle Aches
- Feeling tired
Remember to protect yourself and your baby against infection by getting the right shots for a healthy pregnancy.
The information on this site is intended to raise awareness and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis or a substitute for health care by your physician.