Pregnancy and Immunization

If you are pregnant, make sure you tell your healthcare professionals before you are immunized against anything. In general, pregnant women may be immunized with vaccines made from bacterial or viral noninfectious fragments, such as proteins, polysaccharides, or toxins. They may also receive vaccines made from inactive whole bacteria or viruses. However, some experts recommend against the use of immunizing agents during the first trimester to avoid febrile reactions. "Live" vaccines (such as for measles and chickenpox) are contraindicated due to the theoretical risk of transmitting the infection to the fetus. Reassuringly, as of yet, no vaccine (live, inactive or other) has been associated with congenital anomalies.

The following table presents a summary of major infections, and specific recommendations regarding the application of their vaccines during pregnancy:

INFECTIONRECOMMENDATION
Chicken pox*** Vaccine contraindicated ***
CholeraUndetermined safety; should accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.
Hepatitis-AImmunoglobulins considered safe; can accept if indicated.Vaccine undetermined safety; accept only in high-risk situation
Hepatitis-BCan accept both immunoglobulins and vaccine if indicated.
InfluenzaCan accept vaccine if indicated
Japanese encephalitisUndetermined safety; accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.
Lyme Disease*** Vaccine contraindicated ***
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (German measles)*** Vaccine contraindicated ***
MeningococcusUndetermined safety; should accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.
PlagueUndetermined safety; should accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.
PneumococcusCan accept if indicated.
PolioCan accept (killed virus) vaccine if indicated but preferably only after the first trimester.
RabiesCan accept both immunoglobulins and vaccine if indicated.
TetanusCan accept immunoglobulins against tetanus if indicated; if dose required routinely, only accept after first trimester. Can accept vaccine (tetanus-diptheria) if indicated
TuberculosisShould accept BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccine only in high-risk situations.
TyphoidUndetermined safety; accept vaccine only in high-risk situations.
Yellow feverUndetermined safety; should accept vaccine only in high-risk situations and preferably only after the first trimester.

For more information:

The Canadian Coalition for Immunization Awareness & Promotion

www.immunize.cpha.ca

Essential information for a safe trip

www.travel.gc.ca

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