What Vaccines Do You Need Before and During Pregnancy?

What Shots Are Safe During Pregnancy?

Flu shot The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot for all women who will be pregnant during the flu season, which is November through March. The flu shot is made of dead viruses, so it's safe for both you and baby. But you should avoid FluMist, a nasal-spray vaccine made from live viruses.

The best time to get a flu shot is in October or November, before the flu season is in full swing. And because flu strains change every year, the vaccine does too -- so don't rely on last year's shot to get you through this year's season.

Moms-to-be who come down with the flu, especially during the second half of pregnancy, are more likely than other women to suffer severe symptoms or complications such as pneumonia. Even a moderate case of the flu can make you feel miserable, resulting in fever, headaches, muscle pain, sore throat, and coughing. Most of these symptoms last about four days, although coughing and fatigue can drag on for two weeks or longer.

If you do get the flu, contact your doctor, get plenty of rest, and drink lots of fluids. Tell your doctor if you're not feeling better after several days or if you have trouble breathing, as this can be a sign of more serious complications such as pneumonia. Fortunately, although the flu can be a real drag for you, it's unlikely to harm your baby.

Tetanus/diphtheria shot If you haven't had a Td shot in the past 10 years, get a booster now. The vaccine is made with toxoids, so it's safe to get during pregnancy.

Tetanus, also called lockjaw, is a disease of the central nervous system that causes painful muscle spasms and convulsions. The bacterium that causes tetanus can be found in soil and in animal waste. It can enter the bloodstream through a cut in the skin, so follow up with your doctor if you get a deep or dirty wound. If contracted during pregnancy, tetanus can cause fetal death.

Diphtheria is a respiratory infection that can cause breathing problems, paralysis, coma, and even death. It's now rare in this country, but you need a booster shot every 10 years; otherwise your immunity is likely to wane.

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