If a woman were immunized against an infection before becoming pregnant, might she pass this along to her baby? What about when a mother receives an immunization during pregnancy? How does this help?
A study published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal found that babies whose mothers received the Hib vaccine before pregnancy had antibodies that protected them from HIB meningitis during the vulnerable period until the babies were old enough to get vaccinated themselves.
Although pre-conception vaccination of women may turn out to be the safest and most effective way to prevent devastating newborn infections, there is still a lot of research to be done in this area.
However, it is very well established that certain vaccines during pregnancy have enormous benefits to the fetus, and those benefits even extend into the first couple months of a baby’s life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that pregnant women receive two vaccines during pregnancy; the inactivated flu vaccine and a Tdap booster. In general, women should not receive live vaccines during pregnancy.
If you will be traveling and are pregnant, it is best to go over your particular situation with your obstetrician. They can guide you on which vaccines are safe to receive during pregnancy.
References and Resources
CDC – Vaccines During Pregnancy FAQs
Chu HY, Englund JA. Maternal immunization. Clin Infect Dis. 2014;59(4):560-568.
Santosham, Mathuram, et al. Safety and antibody persistence following Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate or pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines given before pregnancy in women of childbearing age and their infants. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2001;20(10):931-940.