Due to an increase in pertussis related deaths in newborns, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination in the form of Tdap in each pregnancy, regardless of prior vaccination history.  “Optimal timing for Tdap administration is between 27 and 36 weeks gestation. For women not previously vaccinated with Tdap, if Tdap is not administered during pregnancy, Tdap should be administered immediately postpartum”.  For more information, please visit

Influenza Vaccine

All women should receive the influenza vaccine; this is particularly important during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The influenza vaccination is an essential element of prenatal care because pregnant women are at an increased risk of serious illness and mortality due to influenza. In addition, maternal vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect newborns because the vaccine is not approved for use in infants younger than 6 months.

Only the inactivated influenza vaccine is recommended during pregnancy. Live, attenuated influenza vaccine, which is given as a nasal spray, is contraindicated for pregnant women.

Inadvertent administration of the live, attenuated influenza vaccine during pregnancy has not been shown to be harmful. The live, attenuated influenza vaccine is safe to administer postpartum and to family members.

It is safe for pregnant women to receive a vaccine with thimerosal. Thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in multidose vials, has not been shown to cause any adverse effects except for occasional local skin reactions.

There is no scientific evidence that thimerosal-containing vaccines cause adverse effects in children born to women who received vaccines with thimerosal.

Other Vaccines

In general, there are no other vaccines recommended in pregnacy.  At the first obstetric appointment, or prior to pregnancy, we will confirm your immunity to rubella and varicella (chicken pox).  If you are non-immune, these vaccines can be administered 6 months prior to pregnancy or after.  They are typically live virus vaccines and therefore, cannot be given during pregnancy.  Please talk to your physicain regarding your individual need for these vaccines.

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