Vaccination schedule for pregnancy and newborns

Vaccinations can help protect you and your baby from serious diseases. Unlike most medicines that treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent them. They work by boosting the immune system’s ability to fight certain infections. Generally, vaccines that contain inactivated viruses can be given during pregnancy. Vaccines that contain live viruses aren’t recommended for pregnant women.

Vaccinations for moms-to-be

Two vaccinations (also known as immunizations or shots) are recommended for pregnant women:

Influenza (flu) vaccine. The flu vaccine is recommended for women who are pregnant during flu season — typically November through March. The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus, so it’s safe for both you and your baby. Avoid the influenza nasal spray vaccine, which is made from a live virus.

Tdap vaccine. One dose of the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine is given when you’re 27 to 36 weeks pregnant to protect your newborn from whooping cough (pertussis).

If you’re traveling abroad or you’re at increased risk for certain infections, your health care provider might also recommend other vaccines during pregnancy — such as the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines.

Some vaccines to avoid during pregnancy include:

  • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Shingles (varicella-zoster) vaccine

Vaccinations for children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an immunization schedule designed to protect infants and children early in life, when they are most vulnerable, and before they’re exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.

A child’s vaccination schedule begins at birth with the hepatitis B vaccine. The next set of vaccines is administered at 2 months old. These include:

  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis [whooping cough])
  • IPV (inactivated polio vaccine)
  • Hepatitis B booster
  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenzae Type B)
  • Rotavirus vaccine

Additional vaccinations are given during your baby’s first 18 months and then throughout childhood. Your pediatrician will guide you through the process, although you can review the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule online.

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