What you need to know about shots if you're planning—or having—a baby.
As an adult, you probably don't think much about whether your shots are up to date. But if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, now is the time to check.
You may have records of all your shots. Or, your doctor's office can look up what notes are in your doctor's records for you. If you just don't know, a simple blood test can tell you what shots you need.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has guidance on the most common shots you need. It also tells you about other shots based on your risk of rarer diseases.
Ideally, you should have all your routine adult shots before you get pregnant. This includes HPV (if you're 26 or younger) to protect against genital warts and cervical cancer.
When you're up-to-date on your vaccines, you can pass your immunity—protection against disease—along to your baby. This gives your baby some protection until he or she can be vaccinated.
Wait to get pregnant after getting these shots
If you get these vaccines, wait one month before trying to get pregnant.
- Chicken pox: Varicella, or chicken pox, is easily caught and very dangerous to a baby. It can cause birth defects during pregnancy. Tell your doctor you never had chicken pox or the vaccine against it.
- MMR: This vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Measles can harm pregnant women and cause miscarriage.
Shots you can take while pregnant
These vaccines can be taken safely while pregnant, if needed.
- Flu: You should get a yearly flu shot. Catching the flu while you are pregnant can lead to complications. The flu shot is safe, but the flu nasal spray is a live vaccine and should be avoided during pregnancy. Learn what else you can do to fight off the flu.
- Tdap: This shot protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. You should have the Tdap vaccine for each pregnancy between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy.
If you didn't get MMR, chicken pox or shingles vaccines before you were pregnant, wait until after your baby is born to get them. Other vaccines to avoid while pregnant include typhoid, tuberculosis and pneumonia.