Vaccinations during Pregnancy

What vaccinations should you get before getting pregnant or avoid while pregnant? Being exposed to bad bugs during pregnancy can exceed the flu or common cold. There are more horrible outcomes than feeling awful for a few days or weeks. Some diseases and bugs can actually cause birth defects or kill your baby.

The same goes with vaccines. Some are good and highly recommended vaccines, and others should be avoided like the altogether. Talk to your doctor prior to pregnancy about what you should have and what to avoid.

How Do Vaccines Work?

A vaccination builds up your immune system with fighting power against a specific germ. It works the same as actually getting sick with many less side effects. The body identifies the germ and “soldiers” are made to defeat it.

Once the antibodies have been made, some stick around to make sure if the invader ever comes back, the body can defeat it sooner and more effectively. So, if you are exposed to the same germ again, you wont get as sick or not get sick at all.

Many vaccines last a lifetime, as do the natural antibodies of many other illnesses. Others need to have a booster shot every so often to make sure the soldiers still are sticking around. There are two kinds of vaccines, live and inactive.

The live organisms are the one that you actually get a bit sick from, but build up the best immune to. You get a mild case of the illness and the body comes to the rescue. The inactive form is either a synthesized protein similar to the live virus or a mutated, less potent form of the original bug.

These usually require boosters and have only a limited effectiveness as time goes on. Stay away from live viruses if you are pregnant, any disease you are being introduced to and prevent can be deadly at this time.

When Should a Vaccination Be Considered?

The best time to get a vaccine is before you are pregnant. When you think you might consider getting pregnant, make an appointment and make sure you are up to date with all your vaccines. Many times it is riskier to take your chances in the world than get a particular vaccination that could potentially damage you baby.

Make sure you have been given shots to prevent the most common and deadly diseases to prevent getting them while pregnant. If you are unsure whether or not you are at risk, ask to have your blood drawn to see if the antibody is there or not.

If it is, then you are protected. If not, you need the vaccine or booster. Be vaccinated against the most likely of bugs, such as chicken pox, the flu, and pneumonia. You are more likely to be exposed to these in daily life than small pox or anthrax any day.

If you are likely to be exposed to certain health risks, then you should be more cautious and get more vaccines than the general public. The risk of infection is worse than the vaccine in most cases. If you work in a health care facility, you want to make sure you get vaccinated against hepatitis B prior to pregnancy.

This is a dangerous vaccine to receive after pregnancy. You want to be on birth control when you get this and not actively trying to have a baby. It can cause miscarriage and severe birth defects. If you are at high risk for chicken pox or shingles (same virus) get the booster before getting pregnant as well. Exposing a baby in utero to this can cause death to the baby. Make sure you discuss every vaccine with your doctor before getting one.

Recommended Vaccinations for pregnant women:

Flu shot made with an inactivated virus: Recommended for women who will be pregnant during the flu season.

Tetanus/Diphtheria: Routinely recommended for pregnant women.

Meningococcal: Recommended for pregnant women at risk of infection.

Rabies: Recommended for those exposed to infection. Also may be recommended for those at a high risk of exposure.

Vaccinations You Should Avoid

The live flu virus




Rubella (German measles)

Varicella (chickenpox)

BCG (tuberculosis)

Hepatitis A and B

Polio (IPV)


Japanese encephalitis


Vaccinia (smallpox)

Yellow fever