Many vaccine-preventable diseases can have severe consequences for both mother and fetus, which makes the immunization status of women wanting to conceive an important factor. Several vaccinations need to be done at least a few months before pregnancy. This is why it’s important to review your immunizations with your physician so you can make sure they are up to date. When was your last tetanus shot? A booster is needed every ten years. Have you received booster pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine? Immunity wears off, and this is something you don’t want to pass on to your fetus. Blood tests can check for chicken pox and rubella. We’re often vaccinated as children against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), but immunity can fade over time. These are dangerous diseases to get while you’re pregnant.
Women who are not immune at a preconception visit should be vaccinated. The vaccine causes your body to produce protective antibodies and some of these pass on to your baby before birth. Those who receive the vaccine should avoid pregnancy for about three months. Other vaccines, like flu shots, can be given before or during pregnancy, depending on whether or not it is flu season.