Getting vaccinated while pregnant: What you need to know

March 17, 2021

For many years, vaccines have protected us from serious diseases. For example thanks to vaccines, people no longer get a deadly disease called smallpox. Vaccines are important to keep us healthy.

Before and during pregnancy, you can protect yourself and your baby by getting up-to-date with your vaccinations. Learn which vaccines you should get before and during pregnancy, including the vaccine that protects against the COVID-19 virus.

Why vaccines are important

Some vaccinations that you get during pregnancy help keep your baby safe from infections during the first few months of life until they get their own vaccinations. The antibodies you develop after getting a vaccine cross the placenta and help protect your baby from serious diseases early in life. The placenta grows in your uterus and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.

However, not all vaccinations are safe to get during pregnancy. This chart shows which routine vaccinations are recommended before and during pregnancy. It’s based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (also called CDC).

Which vaccines are safe during pregnancy?

Your provider may recommend that you get these vaccinations while you’re pregnant:

  • Flu (also called influenza). The flu is a serious disease that can cause fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea. Getting the flu when you’re pregnant increases your risk of preterm labor. . Get a flu shot once a year during flu season (October through May).
  • Tdap (stands for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis). Pertussis is also called whooping cough. Getting the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy helps protect your baby from pertussis in the first few months of life, when the disease is most dangerous. Get a new Tdap vaccine during every pregnancy.

Is it safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant?

The COVID-19 virus can have serious, life-threatening complications. Pregnant people are at higher risk for serious illness with COVID-19. Pregnant people who get the virus also may be at higher risk for pregnancy problems, such as preterm birth.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized several COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use  These vaccines work with your immune system to get your body ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. While more research is needed, experts don’t believe that the available COVID-19 vaccines are harmful to people who are pregnant or who are chestfeeding.

When to get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines during pregnancy

The CDC is learning more about how safe and effective the COVID-19 vaccine is when it’s given at the same time as other vaccines, such as the flu or Tdap vaccine. The CDC currently recommends:

  • That you wait at least 14 days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine to get any other vaccine.
  • That you wait at least 14 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine after getting other vaccines.
  • That you complete your vaccinations on schedule even if you’ve gotten a COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s a personal choice whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a good idea to talk with your provider to help you make this decision. Following safety precautions – like wearing a mask and social distancing – are other ways to protect yourself from getting the virus.