Vaccination and Pregnancy

The pregnancy is one of the most beautiful time in the life.

It is also a very important time, when every mother must take the best care of herself and baby growing up in her.

It includes regular visits to health professional, as well appropriate daily activities. But did you know? You can protect your baby, and yourself before, during, and after pregnancy also with the appropriate scheme of vaccination.

There are vaccines that are even strongly recommended for pregnant women with the aim to protect baby after delivery.

pregnant 2720434 1920

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent diseases. A vaccine helps the body’s immune system to recognize and fight pathogens like viruses or bacteria, which then keeps us safe from the diseases they cause.

There are also a special recommendation for vaccination during pregnancy made by:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and health care professionals in most of the developed countries.

Here we will explain the recommendations based on information from CDC. For more detailed information in your country ask Your doctor. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

A pregnant woman should get vaccinated against whooping cough and flu during each pregnancy to protect herself and her baby, with immunity for the first few months of life.

Whooping cough

Whooping cough can be serious for everyone, but even life-threatening for newborns less than 2 months old.

These babies are too young to be protected by their own vaccination.

When a pregnant woman gets a whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy, her body will create protective antibodies and pass some of them to the baby before birth. These antibodies will provide the baby some short-term, early protection against whooping cough.

CDC recommends getting a whooping cough shot during the 27th through a 36th week of each pregnancy, preferably during the early part of earlier part of this time period.


Pregnant women are more likely to have severe illness (hemorrhagic pneumonia) from flu, possibly because of changes in immune, heart, and lung functions during pregnancy.

Get a flu shot during pregnancy during flu season—it’s the best way for a pregnant woman to protect against the flu herself and protect the baby for several months (approximately six months) after birth from flu-related complications. Get a flu shot anytime during each pregnancy.

CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine by the end of October, despite flu seasons varying in their timing from season to season. This timing helps protect a pregnant woman before flu activity increases.

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough is also known as pertussis. Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis (these bacteria attach to the cilia (tiny, hair-like extensions) that line part of the upper respiratory system.

The bacteria release toxins (poisons), which damage the cilia and cause airways to swell.

Transmission: Pertussis is a very contagious disease only found in humans. It spreads from person to person. People usually spread the disease to another person by coughing or sneezing or when spending a lot of time near one another where you share breathing space.

Many babies who get pertussis are infected by older siblings, parents, or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease. Infected people are most contagious up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins.

Symptoms: Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 5 to 10 days after a person is exposed. Sometimes pertussis symptoms do not develop for as long as 3 weeks. There are early phase and later-phase symptoms and recovery-phase.


The “whoop” is often not there if you have milder (less serious) disease. The infection is generally milder in teens and adults, especially those who have gotten the pertussis vaccine.

It is important to know that many babies with pertussis don’t cough at all. Instead, it causes them to stop breathing and turn blue.

Early-phase symptoms: 

The disease usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. In babies, the cough can be minimal or not even there. Babies may have a symptom known as “apnea.” Early symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks and usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
  • Mild, occasional cough
  • Apnea – a pause in breathing (in babies)

Pertussis in its early stages appears to be nothing more than the common cold. Therefore, healthcare professionals often do not suspect or diagnose it until the more severe symptoms appear.

Apnea is a pause in the child’s breathing pattern

Later-phase symptoms:

After 1 to 2 weeks and as the disease progresses, the traditional symptoms of pertussis may appear and include:

  • Paroxysms (fits) of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop” sound
  • Vomiting (throwing up) during or after coughing fits
  • Exhaustion (very tired) after coughing fits

Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from your lungs. When there is no more air in the lungs, you are forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound.

This extreme coughing can cause you to throw up and be very tired. Although you are often exhausted after a coughing fit, you usually appear fairly well in-between.

Coughing fits generally become more common and bad as the illness continues, and can occur more often at night. The coughing fits can go on for up to 10 weeks or more. In China, pertussis is known as the “100 day cough.”


Recovery from pertussis can happen slowly. The cough becomes milder and less common. However, coughing fits can return with other respiratory infections for many months after the pertussis infection started.

The “whoop” is often not there if you have milder (less serious) disease. The infection is generally milder in teens and adults, especially those who have gotten the pertussis vaccine.

It is important to know that many babies with pertussis don’t cough at all. Instead, it causes them to stop breathing and turn blue.

Complications: Pertussis can cause serious and sometimes deadly complications in babies and young children, especially those who have not received all recommended pertussis vaccines. About half of babies younger than 1-year-old who get pertussis need care in the hospital. The younger the baby, the more likely they will need treatment in the hospital. Complications include:

  • pneumonia (in 23%)
  • convulsions (violent, uncontrolled shaking) (in 1.1%)
  • apnea (slowed or stopped breathing) (in 61%)
  • encephalopathy (in 0.3%)

Teens and adults can also get complications from pertussis, although they are usually less serious in this older age group, especially in those who have been vaccinated with a pertussis vaccine. In this group pneumonia is less often (in 2%). Here the most common complications are weight loss, loss of bladder control, rib fractures from severe coughing.

Diagnosis and Treatment: Healthcare providers diagnose pertussis by considering if it has exposed a person to pertussis and by doing a: History of typical symptoms; physical examination; laboratory tests (taking a sample of mucus from the back of the through and blood test).

Healthcare providers generally treat pertussis with antibiotics, and early treatment is very important. Treatment may make infection less serious if doctors start it early, before coughing fits begin.

Vaccination After Childbirth

Healthcare professionals may recommend some women receive certain vaccines right after giving birth. Postpartum vaccination will help protect moms from getting sick, and they will pass some antibodies to the baby through breastmilk if they are able to breastfeed. 

Vaccination after pregnancy is especially important if moms did not receive certain vaccines before or during pregnancy

However, moms will not get protective antibodies immediately if they wait to get vaccinated until after birth. This is because it takes about 2 weeks after getting vaccinated before the body develops antibodies.

The baby will also start to get his or her own vaccines to protect against serious childhood diseases.

Vaccination Before Pregnancy

It’s important to keep an accurate record of your vaccinations. Sharing this information with your pre-conception and prenatal healthcare professionals will help determine which vaccines you’ll need before and during pregnancy.

HERE (answering some questions) You can find out which vaccines You may need before becoming pregnant. 

Even before becoming pregnant, make sure you are up to date on all your vaccines. Being up to date will help protect you and your child from serious, preventable diseases. For example, rubella is a contagious disease that can be dangerous if you get it while you are pregnant. 

The best protection against rubella is the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. If you aren’t up to date with the MMR vaccine, you’ll need it before you get pregnant. Make sure you have a pre-pregnancy blood test to see if you are immune to the disease. Most women were vaccinated with the MMR vaccine as children but confirm with your doctor or other healthcare professional.

More about MMR Vaccine find HERE

Pregnant women share everything with their babies. That means when a pregnant woman gets vaccines, she isn’t just protecting herself— she is giving the baby some early protection too.

CDC has recommendations for the vaccines needed before, during, and after pregnancy. Currently, CDC routinely recommends Tdap and flu shots during pregnancy.

  • Get the Tdap vaccine (to help protect against whooping cough), during pregnancy.
  • The flu shot can be given before or during pregnancy, depending on whether or not it is flu season during a pregnancy.
  • It is safe for pregnant women to receive vaccines right after giving birth, even while breastfeeding.
  • Some vaccines, such as the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, should be given a month or more before pregnancy if a pregnant woman didn’t get the vaccine as a child.

Live virus vaccines, such as the MMR and chickenpox shots, should not be given to pregnant women, but should be given to women before or after pregnancy, if indicated.

Talk to your doctor about the MMR, Tdap, and flu vaccines before getting vaccinated

In conclusion, we want to emphasize that Tdap and flu vaccines are safe for a pregnant woman and her baby based on multiple studies.

These vaccines are safe because these are inactivated vaccines – they are made by inactivating or killing the germ during the process of making the vaccine.

On the other hand, live vaccines (also MMR) generally are not recommended during pregnancy. So if a pregnant woman did not get MMR as a child, she should get the vaccine before pregnancy. 

Always remember that all things connected with your health and weel-being, especially in pregnancy, You need to discuss with Your doctor!! Do no make decisions only by yourself!

Enjoy Your pregnancy – it is one of the most beautiful time in Your life! And take as much care as You can about Yourself, Your family and Your baby! 🙂

baby 2416718 1920

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This