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Is it safe to get vaccinations when I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

You should be tested to make sure you have antibodies against rubella (German measles) and varicella zoster virus (chicken pox). If you're pregnant and don't have enough antibodies against these conditions, you should not get vaccinated because the vaccines contain weakened forms of the viruses that could, in some cases, trigger an infection, and contracting either during pregnancy could harm your fetus. Instead, avoid contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms of rubella. And when it comes to chicken pox, if you are exposed, treatments are available that can prevent or minimize the illness in pregnant women.

Remember to ask about getting vaccinated after your baby is born.

Dr. Margit S. Lister, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Whether or not you get immunizations when you are pregnant or nursing is really up to you. The flu vaccine is recommended for all pregnant women. Tetanus is also safe with pregnancy. Some immunizations we put off until you're not pregnant, but they are important to get during the postpartum period. Any virus that is attenuated or is a live virus is not recommended in pregnancy, but any other vaccine is fine in pregnancy. The flu vaccine is very important for our women to get, tetanus is okay for you to get. Hepatitis is something we usually put off, as well as rubella and varicella, until the postpartum period.

It is safe for women to receive routine vaccines immediately after giving birth, even while breastfeeding. This is also an important time to begin educating yourself on childhood vaccination schedules for your new addition. If you haven’t received your Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis during pregnancy, you should have it administered right after delivery. Also, women should receive the pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and varicella vaccines to reduce risks to both her and her infant.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.