My workplace expects its employees to get several immunizations regularly. But I’m pregnant and scared of what the vaccines might do to my baby. Should I be concerned? – Emma
It's best to be vaccinated before your pregnancy when possible, but some immunizations can be given during pregnancy.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone during flu season, and especially for pregnant women. The vaccine is safe — studies show no harmful effects to a fetus. It also helps protect a mother and her baby from getting the flu (and other viruses) in the baby's first year of life. Pregnant women should only get the shot made with the inactivated virus. The flu vaccine previously also came in a nasal spray (or mist) form, but it contained live strains of the virus and was never safe for moms-to-be. Currently, the nasal spray is not recommended for anyone because it didn't prevent cases of the flu between 2013 and 2016.
The Tdap vaccine (against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) is now recommended for all pregnant women in the second half of each pregnancy, regardless of whether they've gotten it before or when it was last given. This recommendation is in response to a rise in whooping cough infections, which can be fatal in newborns who have not yet had their routine vaccinations.
Some vaccines should not be given during pregnancy, such as the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR), human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and chickenpox (varicella) vaccine.
Before you get any vaccines during pregnancy, check with your doctor to make sure they are right for you.