Can Getting Immunizations Affect My Unborn Baby?_KH_Parent

Can Getting Immunizations Affect My Unborn Baby?

My workplace expects its employees to get several immunizations regularly. But I’m 5 months' pregnant and scared of what the vaccines might do to my baby. Should I be concerned?

It's best to be vaccinated before your pregnancy when possible, but some immunizations can be given during pregnancy. These include vaccines like the inactivated flu shot (be sure not to get the nasal vaccine spray), hepatitis B, meningococcus, rabies, and tetanus/diphtheria.

Some vaccines, such as those against measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox, should not be given during pregnancy.

A doctor might recommend that a pregnant woman get immunized during pregnancy if all of the following are true:

  • there's a good chance that she could be exposed to a particular infection
  • the infection would pose a risk to her or the baby
  • the vaccine is unlikely to cause harm

For example, flu shots are recommended for women who will be in their second or third trimester of pregnancy during flu season because:

  • during flu season, exposure to flu viruses is high
  • pregnant women — especially those in late pregnancy — are at increased risk for severe symptoms from the flu
  • the vaccines are safe for pregnant women

Before you get any vaccines during pregnancy, check with your doctor to make sure they are right for you.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: July 2010

Have a question? Email us.

Although we can't reply personally, you may see your question posted to this page in the future. If you're looking for medical advice, a diagnosis, or treatment, consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional. If this is an emergency, contact emergency services in your area.

Related Sites

Maternal and Child Health Bureau
Immunization Action Coalition
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

Related Articles

Is the Flu Vaccine a Good Idea for Your Family?
A Week-by-Week Pregnancy Calendar
Medical Care During Pregnancy
Staying Healthy During Pregnancy