Pregnancy and breastfeeding

The benefits and risks of vaccination must always be carefully considered for pregnant women. Many vaccines benefit the health of the mother as well as the child. Women should ensure that their immunizations are up to date when they start planning for pregnancy.
  • Understandably, pregnant women are concerned about vaccines and their potential side effects on themselves and the fetus. Pregnant women should discuss their immunization status at their maternity clinic.
  • It is important for the mother to have comprehensive immunizations because the antibodies in the mother’s body are transmitted to the fetus via the placenta and provide immune protection during the first months of the child’s life.
  • The seasonal influenza vaccine is recommended for all expectant mothers. In addition to protecting the mother, a vaccine can also protect the child both during pregnancy and after birth.
  • The diphtheria and tetanus vaccine can be administered normally during pregnancy. Other vaccines containing inactivated pathogens are administered during pregnancy if the risk of infection is high.
  • Vaccines containing attenuated pathogens are usually not administered during pregnancy. The concern is that the pathogen could infect the fetus and cause similar negative effects as the full-strength pathogen. However, this concern is mostly theoretical.
  • The administration of other vaccines is considered based on individual needs.
  • Women planning for pregnancy should supplement their immunizations even before getting pregnant. Comprehensive immunizations promote a healthy pregnancy and protect the developing fetus.
  • In particular, the chickenpox vaccine and the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella should ideally be given 1–3 months before pregnancy. These vaccines contain live attenuated pathogens and are usually not administered to women who are already pregnant. Being afflicted with chickenpox during pregnancy is dangerous for both the mother and the foetus.
  • The whooping cough vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus vaccine should also be taken when planning for pregnancy.

Further reading

Page published 17.4.2018
Page edited 6.6.2018