A woman desiring to conceive should have her immunization status updated since there can be serious consequences of diseases that may be preventable. While the Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine & Fertility previously posted on this topic, the committee opinion of American Society for Reproductive Medicine updated the guidelines for recommended immunizations in February 2013. The following is a brief summary of this committee opinion.
Most vaccines can be administered to pregnant women with few risks and others can be administered if benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk. The only contraindicated vaccines are:
- Herpes Zoster
MMR and Varicella should be administered when the woman is not pregnant. After vaccination, the patient should not get pregnant for one month.
Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis (Tdap) and Tetanus-Diphtheria (Td) are recommended for those that are between the ages of 19-64 and in contact with infants less than 1 year old. If already pregnant, Tdap should be given after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Meningococcus vaccine should be administered to those living in high risk areas: sub-Saharan Africa, area of Middle East, or college dormitories.
Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for the following groups: living with someone infected with the virus, multiple sexual partners, health care workers exposed to blood or blood products, IV drug users, those receiving hemodialysis and/or clotting factors, or travel to areas where Hepatitis B infection is more common. This vaccine is safe for pregnant women.
Pneumococcus is recommended for those that have sickle cell anemia, heart or lung disease, immunodeficiency (HIV, cancer), diabetes, or asplenia.
Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for the following groups: chronic liver disease, travel to areas where this virus is more common, IV drug users, receiving clotting factors, or working with animals infected with this virus. This vaccine is safe for pregnant women.
National standards do exist and may be updated. The reader is encouraged to visit the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a more in depth review. The patient should always discuss the need for any vaccination with her healthcare provider to determine if or when is it appropriate to get the vaccines.