Before Becoming Pregnant

Vaccines You Need Before Getting Pregnant

If you’re planning your pregnancy, use the time before you’re pregnant to check that you are up-to-date on all of your recommended vaccines. This can help protect both you and your child from serious vaccine-preventable diseases.

Take the CDC’s Adult Vaccine Quiz to find out which vaccines you need based on your history and unique circumstances – Take the Quiz

There are some vaccines that are important to make sure you’re up-to-date on before becoming pregnant because the diseases are particularly dangerous for pregnant people and developing babies, but the vaccines may not be recommended for use during pregnancy.

To lower your risk, make sure you’re up to date on: 

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine (MMR)
  • Measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world, and the U.S. has also had outbreaks across the country in recent years. Measles can be serious in all ages, but pregnant people are one of the groups at highest risk of complications. According to the CDC, measles may cause pregnant women who have not had the MMR vaccine to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby. Learn more.
  • Rubella, also known as German measles, is another contagious disease that can be very dangerous for you and your baby if you get it while you are pregnant. If a pregnant woman is infected with the disease it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and/or birth defects such as heart problems, hearing and vision loss, intellectual disabilities, and liver or spleen damage. This group of health problems is called congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

The best protection against measles and 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. Most women were vaccinated with the MMR vaccine as children but confirm with your healthcare provider. You may need a pre-pregnancy blood test to see if you are immune to the disease. The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine should be given a month or more before pregnancy.

Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine

Chickenpox is another disease that is particularly dangerous during pregnancy. If you get chickenpox during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, your baby faces a slight risk of a rare group of serious birth defects known as congenital varicella syndrome. Birth defects are very rare when you get infected with chickenpox after 20 weeks of pregnancy; however, your baby could have problems with his central nervous system if you get infected in the third trimester of pregnancy. Additionally, if you get infected with chickenpox after 20 weeks of pregnancy, your baby might get shingles, caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, during the first 1 to 2 years of his or her life. Learn more from the March of Dimes.

If you are planning to become pregnant and you never had chickenpox or the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated. You can also get a blood test to find out if you’re immune to chickenpox. The CDC recommends that pregnant women wait to get chickenpox vaccine until after they are no longer pregnant. Additionally, women should avoid getting pregnant for at least 1 month after receiving the chickenpox vaccine. 

COVID-19 Vaccine

According to the CDC and pregnancy experts, if you are planning or trying to get pregnant, you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility in women or menwho have been vaccinated. You also do not need to delay getting pregnant after you get a COVID vaccine.

Find answers to your questions about COVID-19 and COVID vaccines. 

Talk to your healthcare provider if you are planning a pregnancy – they can help you make sure you are doing everything you can to have a healthy child. Learn more about preconception health.

Already pregnant? Learn more about the vaccines that are recommended to keep you and baby safe during pregnancy.

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