Learn about Vaccines During Pregnancy; A must read

Vaccination during pregnancy aims to protect both the mother and her unborn child from certain preventable diseases.

During pregnancy, the mother’s immune system is somewhat suppressed, making her more susceptible to infections. Newborns are also at higher risk for some diseases because their immune systems are not yet strong enough to fight these diseases.

Vaccines provide immunity by stimulating the immune system to recognize and fight specific viruses or bacteria, thereby preventing future illness caused by these pathogens.

When a pregnant woman is vaccinated, she produces antibodies that can be passed on to her unborn child, offering the baby some level of protection until he or she is old enough to be vaccinated directly.

FAQs about vaccines during pregnancy

See below for the answers to some of the most asked questions relating to immunization in pregnancy;

Are vaccines safe during pregnancy?

Most vaccines are considered safe during pregnancy, including the flu shot and the Tdap vaccine (for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis).

The COVID-19 vaccines have also been shown to be safe and effective for pregnant individuals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Do vaccines during pregnancy protect the baby?

Yes, some vaccines not only protect you but also provide some level of immunity to your baby. When you get vaccinated against certain diseases like the flu or whooping cough, your body produces antibodies that can be passed on to the fetus, providing them with some protection after birth.

Can vaccines cause miscarriage?

There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that vaccines cause miscarriage. In fact, vaccines like the flu shot are recommended during pregnancy precisely because pregnant individuals are at higher risk for severe complications from influenza, which could potentially result in miscarriage or premature birth.

When should I get vaccinated during pregnancy?

Timing varies depending on the vaccine. For example, the Tdap vaccine is generally recommended between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation, while the flu shot can be given at any time during flu season. Consult your healthcare provider for advice tailored to your individual needs.

Are there any vaccines I should avoid during pregnancy?

Some vaccines, like the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines, are generally not recommended during pregnancy because they are live vaccines. If you need these vaccines, you’ll typically be advised to get them before becoming pregnant or after giving birth.

Components of Vaccines

See below;


The key component of a vaccine is an antigen, a harmless piece or part of the pathogen (like a protein or a piece of its genetic material encapsulated in a harmless vector) that is introduced into the body.


Some vaccines may also contain adjuvants, which help to boost the immune response.

Preservatives and Stabilizers

Other components may include preservatives and stabilizers to keep the vaccine effective during distribution and storage.

Learn How vaccines work

  1. Administration: The vaccine is introduced into the body, usually by injection, although some vaccines are administered orally or nasally.
  2. Immune Recognition: Immune cells known as antigen-presenting cells (APCs) pick up the antigen from the vaccine and present it to specialized immune cells called T-cells.
  3. Activation of T-cells: T-cells recognize the antigen and become activated. They go on to activate B-cells, another type of immune cell responsible for producing antibodies.
  4. Antibody Production: Activated B-cells produce antibodies specific to the antigen. These antibodies can recognize and neutralize the pathogen if the body is exposed to it in the future.
  5. Memory Cells: Some of the activated T-cells and B-cells become memory cells. These cells “remember” the specific antigen and remain in the body long-term. If the pathogen is encountered again, these memory cells can rapidly produce antibodies and activate T-cells to fight off the infection more effectively than the first time.

Types of Vaccines

Vaccines come in different forms, but they all serve the same essential purpose: to introduce an antigen into the body in a controlled manner.

  • Inactivated or Killed Vaccines
  • Live Attenuated Vaccines
  • Subunit, Recombinant, or Conjugate Vaccines
  • Messenger RNA (mRNA) Vaccines

Benefits of vaccines during pregnancy

Vaccines during pregnancy are important for several reasons:

Protection for the Mother

Pregnancy causes changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs that make pregnant women more susceptible to severe illness from certain infections.

Vaccines can help the immune system fight off these infections, keeping the mother healthy during pregnancy.

Protection for the Baby

Newborns have an immature immune system and are more susceptible to infections. When a pregnant woman gets vaccinated, she produces antibodies that can be passed on to the baby through the placenta and breast milk.

This provides the baby with some protection against infections until they are old enough to receive their own vaccines.

Prevention of Pregnancy Complications

Some infections can cause complications during pregnancy, such as premature birth or birth defects. Getting vaccinated can help prevent these complications.

Community Protection

Vaccinating pregnant women also contributes to herd immunity, which helps protect others in the community who cannot be vaccinated or who have weakened immune systems.

List of Common Vaccines During Pregnancy

See below;

  • Flu Vaccine
  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)
  • COVID-19 Vaccine

Influenza (Flu) Vaccine

Why It’s Important:

  • Pregnancy can weaken the immune system, making the expectant mother more susceptible to severe complications from the flu, such as pneumonia or hospitalization.
  • Influenza infection during pregnancy can also lead to premature birth or low birth weight.
Vaccines During Pregnancy
Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay

How It’s Administered:

  • Given as an injection, usually in the arm.
  • The inactivated flu vaccine is recommended, not the nasal spray, which is a live attenuated vaccine.


  • Pregnant women are advised to get the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year, usually in the fall.

Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)

Why It’s Important:

  • Whooping cough (pertussis) can be life-threatening for newborns.
  • Tetanus can enter the body through cuts or wounds and can cause severe muscle stiffness and spasms.
  • Diphtheria can cause severe throat infections, and in extreme cases, breathing difficulties.

How It’s Administered:

  • Given as a single intramuscular injection.


  • Generally recommended between the 27th and 36th weeks of pregnancy, regardless of when the woman last received a Tdap or Td vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Why It’s Important:

Vaccines During Pregnancy
Image by torstensimon from Pixabay
  • Pregnant women are at an increased risk of severe illness and complications from COVID-19, including preterm birth.

How It’s Administered:

  • Administered as an intramuscular injection, usually in the arm.
  • The number of doses depends on the type of vaccine.


  • Timing can vary, and it’s best to consult your healthcare provider.

Additional Notes:

  • While not mandatory, the COVID-19 vaccine is strongly recommended by many health organizations for pregnant women.

My final thought on Vaccines During Pregnancy

Vaccines during pregnancy are a crucial aspect of prenatal care that offer a range of benefits for both the mother and the baby as earlier stated.

Getting vaccinated not only helps protect the pregnant woman from potential illness but also provides a layer of protection for the newborn through the transfer of antibodies. This is especially vital for conditions like whooping cough and the flu, where the risks of complications can be significant for both the mother and the baby.

However, it’s important to remember that each person’s situation is unique. Medical history, existing health conditions, potential exposure to diseases, and even travel plans can all influence which vaccines are recommended.

For this reason, an open line of communication with healthcare providers is invaluable for ensuring the health and well-being of both the expectant mother and her baby.

Editor’s Picks

What are the diseases caused by climate change and the preventions?

National Immunization Schedule

8 reasons why genetic counseling is important

Role of Nurses in Promoting Immunization for Adults

One comment

Leave a Reply