Your body goes through a lot of changes when you get pregnant and that includes your immune system, which consequently takes a hit because it's helping support your growing baby. To make sure you stay strong and healthy while you’re expecting, some future moms may be wondering what vaccinations women need before getting pregnant, because these can help protect both you and your baby against some serious diseases. Of course, as almost every soon-to-be expectant mother knows, there is a long and ever-evolving list of foods and medications that should be avoided during pregnancy so, understandably, it can be difficult to keep all of this new information straight. That’s where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comes in, providing women with an updated and handy list of recommended maternal vaccines to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Always talk with your doctor first before getting any kind of vaccine. They know your medical and health history and your doctor’s office will be the place to get the most accurate information about which vaccines you may or may not need. Not every vaccine is for everyone and each doctor considers many different factors, like if you might be traveling outside the United States while you’re expecting or your past vaccination record, as well as when you got them all. There’s a lot to keep in mind.
But, in the meantime, you can certainly brush up on the CDC’s recommendations and go into your next appointment with a knowledgeable foundation so you can make sure all of your vaccinations are up to date.
If you’re planning a pregnancy, the CDC recommends women get vaccines to protect against the measles, mumps, and rubella — or “MMR.” These vaccines are crucial because Rubella and the Mumps, for example, are contagious diseases that can be very dangerous if you get them while you are pregnant and can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects.
Additionally, if you didn’t have chickenpox as a child you may need the varicella vaccine if you are not immune to the extremely contagious disease. According to Parents, “about 2 percent of babies of women who develop chickenpox during the first five months of pregnancy have birth defects, including malformed and paralyzed limbs.” All of these vaccines, of course, should be administered at least one month or more before you get pregnant because the vaccines are made from live viruses that can harm your baby, according to Parents.
If you’re not entirely sure which vaccines you might need before you get pregnant, make sure to ask you doctor for a pre-pregnancy blood test which can see if you are immune to certain diseases (which would likely mean you’ve already received a particular vaccination). And if you’re completely in the dark and aren’t sure where your vaccination records are, you can also take the CDC’s adult vaccine quiz to help you find out what vaccines you may need before becoming pregnant.
A healthy you means a healthy baby. Make sure you've got what you need in terms of immunizations, if you're planning to expand your family — it'll be more than worth it.