Immunization and Pregnancy

pregnant woman smiling

Before Pregnancy

Before becoming pregnant, a woman should be up-to-date on all routine vaccinations. This will help protect her and her unborn baby.

'Live' vaccines should be given at least three months before getting pregnant (conception). Most inactivated vaccines are considered safe before pregnancy, if needed.

During Pregnancy

Scientific evidence shows that most inactivated vaccines are considered safe during pregnancy. It is best to avoid 'live' vaccines. Speak with your health care provider to discuss risks/benefits of a particular vaccine.

It is safe, and recommended, that pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy) get the flu shot. A healthy pregnant woman who gets the flu (influenza) is at higher risk for serious complications and hospitalization.

Pregnancy is a good time to learn about childhood immunization. Start the discussion with your health care provider.

After Pregnancy

A woman who has not received the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine should be vaccinated as soon as possible after delivery. When you are vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough) this reduces the risk to your infant too.

A woman who is not immune to measles, mumps and rubella and/or varicella (chickenpox) should be vaccinated as soon as possible after delivery.

It is safe for a woman to be vaccinated after pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Recommended Immunization Schedule

The following schedule shows which vaccines you can have before, during and after pregnancy (for publicly funded vaccines in Ontario, August 2011).

Vaccine Before Pregnancy During Pregnancy After Pregnancy
(while breastfeeding)
Influenza (flu)
Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) - one dose only
Td (tetanus, diphtheria) - if one dose Tdap already given
Hepatitis B
Polio
MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
avoid conception for 3 months
 
give immediately postpartum if susceptible to rubella
Varicella (chickenpox)
avoid conception for 3 months
 
give immediately postpartum if susceptible

For more information, call 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074, ext. 7425.


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