Is it safe to get vaccines for travel while I'm pregnant?

Is it safe to get vaccines for travel while I'm pregnant?

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It depends on the type of vaccine.

To play it safe, pregnant women should avoid live vaccines such as those for measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chicken pox). Because these vaccines are made from live viruses, they could potentially infect you and your unborn baby with the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control has received no reports of harm to babies whose mothers have accidentally gotten live vaccines. But information is limited, so it's still a risk that expectant moms shouldn't take. If you need a live vaccine, you'll want to get it at least one month before you get pregnant.

One exception to avoiding live vaccines during pregnancy is the yellow fever vaccine. For most women, the risks of exposure to the yellow fever virus (a threat in some areas of the world) are thought to outweigh the risks of vaccination during pregnancy.

Some other vaccines, such as those for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and tetanus, are safe and recommended for pregnant women who are at risk of getting these diseases. And there are two vaccines that you definitely should get during pregnancy: the Tdap (whooping cough) and the influenza vaccine (flu shot). Both are recommended for pregnant women, whether or not they're traveling.

The Tdap is recommended during each pregnancy to pass protection against pertussis (whooping cough) on to your baby. And the flu shot is recommended each year for all women who will be pregnant during flu season. (The nasal-spray flu vaccine, however, contains live virus and should not be taken during pregnancy.)

Talk with your healthcare provider at least a month before you travel internationally about any vaccines you might need. You'll want your routine immunizations up to date, and you'll want to learn about any region-specific diseases, too. There are many vaccine-preventable diseases that -- while not common in the United States -- are still prevalent in other parts of the world.

If you haven't been vaccinated and you must travel to an area where serious disease is widespread, you and your healthcare provider will have to weigh the theoretical risk of a particular vaccine against the potential danger the disease poses to you and your baby.

The CDC provides the latest information about which countries require vaccinations and which diseases currently pose a threat in a particular area. Some countries require a vaccination certificate even if the disease is not currently a problem. (In some cases, this certificate can be waived.)

The bottom line: Whether you're planning a trip or not, it's best to find out about your immunization status and get necessary vaccinations at least one month before getting pregnant. If you have the option, don't travel during your pregnancy to countries where the threat of disease is high and a potentially risky shot becomes an issue.

Learn eight smart strategies for pregnant travelers.

Watch the video: HPV Vaccination and Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes (October 2022).

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