Vaccination During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Figuranåte. Image illustrant le vaccin contre la grippe A/H1N1; blog: Vaccination During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

If you’re planning to get pregnant (or pregnant already), you’re probably thinking a lot about how to protect the health of your future child. You may be wondering about vaccination during pregnancy. Vaccines protect you from certain illnesses, but they can also help protect your baby.

A Basic Guide to Vaccination During Pregnancy

Which vaccines should you get before you get pregnant and which should you get when you do get pregnant? It’s best to consult your doctor about specifics, but this guide to vaccination during pregnancy can get you started.

ACOG’s Statement on the COVID-19 for Pregnant Women

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: the COVID-19 vaccine. Is it safe for pregnant women? The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians has answered that question with a resounding “yes!” Part  of ACOG’s official statement says:

“Pregnant individuals are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection, including death. With cases rising as a result of the Delta variant, the best way for pregnant individuals to protect themselves against the potential harm from COVID-19 infection is to be vaccinated.

Maternal care experts want the best outcomes for their patients, and that means both a healthy parent and a healthy baby. Data from tens of thousands of reporting individuals have shown that the COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and effective when administered during pregnancy. The same data have been equally reassuring when it comes to infants born to vaccinated individuals. Moreover, COVID-19 vaccines have no impact on fertility.”

You can read more about the COVID-19 vaccine and ACOG’s position here:

Important Vaccinations Before Getting Pregnant

According to the March of Dimes vaccination chart, some vaccinations are important to get before pregnancy. If you are planning to get pregnant in the near future, the vaccines you need to get may vary based on your medical history and which vaccines you have already gotten. So there’s not a hard and fast list. The one vaccine recommended across the board is the flu shot. Other vaccines you may want to make sure you are up-to-date on before getting pregnant include:

  • HPV
  • MMR
  • Varicella
  • Hib
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal

Vaccines that are Safe During Pregnancy

When it comes to vaccination during pregnancy, there are two vaccines every pregnant woman should get: Tdap and influenza (flu). Others may be appropriate given individual circumstances.


You should get a Tdap vaccination during every pregnancy. The best time to get a Tdap vaccination during pregnancy is at the beginning of the third trimester. If you don’t get the Tdap vaccine while you are pregnant, you should get it right after your baby is born. Getting this vaccination during pregnancy will make it more effective at protecting the baby from getting whooping cough in the first months of life.


You should get a flu shot every fall, even during pregnancy. It is safe to get a flu vaccination during pregnancy at any point. It will protect you and your baby from the flu. 

Other Safe Vaccinations During Pregnancy (Depending on Risk)

Some other vaccines are safe to get during pregnancy. However, they are only given to women who have a higher risk of getting certain illnesses. These include:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Tetanus and diphtheria (Td) – Tdap is recommended instead
  • Anthrax
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Typhoid
  • Vaccinia (smallpox)
  • Yellow fever

Some Vaccines are Not Right For Pregnant Women

Some vaccines are not recommended for pregnant women. Many of the vaccinations listed below are included on the list of vaccines you should get BEFORE you are pregnant.


The HPV vaccine is effective in preventing certain types of human papillomavirus linked to cervical cancer. However, it is not one of the vaccines doctors recommend for pregnant women. If you get the vaccine and you are pregnant, it’s not a cause for concern, but no further doses should be given once you know you’re pregnant. The vaccine is most commonly given to people under 26 and requires either two or three doses. To protect yourself and future children, it’s a good idea to complete the vaccination before trying to get pregnant. If you are older than 26, talk to your doctor about whether you should get the HPV vaccine.


The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine has been instrumental in preventing these once-common diseases in large parts of the US population. However, it is recommended you get the MMR vaccine before pregnancy to protect yourself and your baby.


The varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant. However, if you are inadvertently given the vaccine while pregnant (for instance, if you get it before you know you are pregnant), it should not be cause for panic because it has not been linked to any serious birth defects.

Zoster (shingles)

Zoster vaccination to protect against shingles is not recommended for pregnancy. That is because the shingles vaccines have not been tested to determine their safety for pregnant women. One vaccine, called Zostavax, is intended for people 60 or older. The other type of shingles vaccine, called Shingrix, is intended for adults 50 and older. However, if you somehow get one of those vaccines at a younger age, the CDC recommends that women who have gotten the shingles vaccine should wait at least four weeks before trying to get pregnant.

At Kernodle Obstetrics and Gynecology, we are dedicated to improving the health of women at all stages in life. This includes providing comprehensive obstetric services to women, including those with high-risk pregnancies. If you have concerns about your health like if you need certain vaccines during pregnancy, call us at (336) 538-2367 to make an appointment.

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