Alberta Health Services
When you are pregnant, you may have a higher risk of infection and health problems from certain diseases. These infections can also affect your baby and cause birth defects, miscarriage, or result in your baby being born too soon.
Immunization (getting a vaccine) is safe and is an important part of staying healthy. Make sure that you’ve had all the vaccines recommended for you. Talk to your healthcare provider and your public health or community health centre about the vaccines you need for your own health, your partner’s health, and the health of your baby.
It is important to be up to date with all your routine immunizations.
Rubella, measles, mumps, and varicella (chickenpox) can harm a growing fetus. They can cause birth defects, fetal death, or result in your baby being born too soon. Varicella can also be dangerous for you when you’re pregnant.
Before getting pregnant, check with your healthcare provider to see if you are protected against these diseases. A blood test can check if you have protection for rubella and varicella. If you aren’t protected, it is best to get these vaccines before you get pregnant, as these vaccines are not given during pregnancy.
You should wait 1 month after getting these vaccines before you start trying to get pregnant. Talk with your doctor if you get pregnant and it has been less than 1 month since you had these vaccines.
During pregnancy, getting the influenza, COVID-19, and dTap vaccines is considered safe for you and your baby.
You are at higher risk for serious health problems from influenza when you are pregnant. If you get influenza while pregnant, you are at higher risk of being admitted to hospital. The illness may result in your baby being born too soon.
Getting the influenza vaccine will protect you and your baby while you are pregnant. The protection you get from the vaccine may transfer across the placenta and remain with your baby for a short time after birth.
When you’re immunized against influenza, your baby is less likely to:
The influenza vaccine is recommended every year because the influenza virus changes. You can get the influenza vaccine at any time during your pregnancy. The best time for you to get the influenza vaccine is October or November, before the influenza season begins. You can still get the vaccine at any time during the influenza season, which usually starts in late fall and lasts through the winter.
The inactivated (killed) influenza vaccine given as an injection is recommended if you are pregnant. Studies show that the inactivated influenza vaccine will not harm you or your baby.
The nasal spray influenza vaccine contains live virus, so it is not used during pregnancy. It is safe for you and your baby to have contact with someone who gets the nasal spray influenza vaccine.
Both types of influenza vaccines (injected and nasal spray) are safe to get when breastfeeding.
Learn more about the influenza vaccine.
While you’re pregnant, you have a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 and being admitted to hospital. COVID-19 could also cause a problem for your baby, such as being born too soon, having a low birth weight, and your baby needing to stay in the hospital after being born. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine lowers your risk of getting seriously ill from the virus and helps protect your baby.
You can get any COVID-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. However, research shows that mRNA vaccines are the safest type of COVID-19 vaccines to get during pregnancy, which includes the bivalent mRNA vaccines.
Learn more about the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
The dTap vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). It is recommended in every pregnancy, even if you have had the vaccine before.
Babies are more likely to have serious health problems from whooping cough. In Canada, 1 to 4 deaths are related to whooping cough each year. These deaths are most often in infants who are too young to be immunized or children who are not fully immunized.
By getting the dTap vaccine during pregnancy, you are giving your baby early protection in their first few months of life. The dTap vaccine is usually given between 27 and 32 weeks of pregnancy, because this is the best time to transfer immunity to your baby. If you are outside of this time, talk to your healthcare provider about when you should get your dTap vaccine.
Learn more about the dTap vaccine.
Live vaccines—such as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and varicella (chicken pox)—are not routinely given during pregnancy.
If you need these vaccines, it’s recommended that you get these vaccines after you have your baby. If you need other vaccines, your healthcare provider will talk to you about the risks and benefits to you and your baby.
People who will have close contact with your baby should also get the influenza, dTap, and COVID-19 vaccines if they haven’t had them.
It’s best for people to get these vaccines at least 2 weeks before having contact with your baby.