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Health & Pregnancy

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Is It Safe to Get Vaccinations During Pregnancy?

Which Vaccines Should Pregnant Women Avoid?

The following vaccines can potentially be transmitted to the unborn child and may result in miscarriage, premature birth or birth defects.

  • Hepatitis A: The safety of this vaccine hasn't been determined, so it should be avoided during pregnancy. Women at high risk for exposure to this virus should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctors.
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR): Women should wait at least one month to become pregnant after receiving these live-virus vaccines. If the initial rubella test shows that you are not immune to rubella, then you will be given the vaccine after delivery.
  • Varicella: This vaccine, used to prevent chicken pox, should be given at least one month before pregnancy.
  • Pneumococcal: Because the safety of this vaccine is unknown, it should be avoided in pregnancy, except for women who are at high risk or have a chronic illness.
  • Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV): Neither the live-virus (OPV) nor the inactivated-virus (IPV) version of this vaccine is recommended for pregnant women.
  • HPV Vaccine: To prevent the human papillomavirus virus (HPV).

What Side Effects Can I Expect After a Vaccination?

Side effects may occur up to three weeks after vaccination. If you experience any severe side effects, be sure to tell your doctor.

  • Hepatitis A: Soreness and redness at injection site, headache, fatigue, severe allergic reaction in very rare cases
  • Hepatitis B: Soreness at injection site, fever
  • Influenza: Redness and swelling at injection site that can last up to two days, fever
  • Tetanus/Diphtheria: Low-grade fever, soreness and swelling at injection site
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR): Non-contagious rash, swelling of neck glands and cheeks, pain and stiffness of joints one to two weeks after vaccination
  • Varicella: Fever, soreness or redness at injection site, rash or small bumps up to three weeks after vaccination
  • Pneumococcal: Fever, soreness at injection site
  • Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV): None
  • Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV): Redness, discomfort at injection site

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on September 15, 2015
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