Vaccinations and Vitamins

There are many vitamins which can help your baby’s development in different ways. With Folic Acid however it is absolutely necessary to take it. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid each day for women who are TTC and pregnant to prevent two very serious birth defects: spina bifida and anencephaly. While the CDC actually recommends all women between the ages of 15 and 45 to take the recommended dose of the supplement daily, it advises strongly that a folic acid routine should be started at least one month prior to conception, and then during the first three months of pregnancy.1 Most likely, your general physician or ob-gyn will discuss vaccinations with you during your pre-pregnancy check-ups. This is a standard part of pre-pregnancy examinations, and should be brought up prior to TTC. Feel free to ask your doctor to go over options with you – in many instances, vaccinations can be administered via nasal spray, pill, or injection. The best time to assess your vaccination status is prior to TTC, especially since there are certain vaccines (such as Influenza LAIV) that are safe up to four weeks before conception, but not during pregnancy, so your doctor may administer these before you’ve even begun TTC. Your doctor may also recommend the following vaccinations: tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap); measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); chicken pox; and HPV, among others. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) advises the use of vaccines to prevent potentially fatal complications and birth defects. It’s also advantageous for the mother to be protected against diseases before TTC. Certain illnesses for which there are vaccinations, such as influenza and hepatitis A and B, can affect both the mother and child and become critically dangerous during pregnancy. Vaccinations have become a hot-button issue, and while choosing whether or not to abide by your physician’s recommendations will ultimately be a personal decision, keep in mind that doing whatever you can to ensure your wellness (and upon pregnancy, that of your baby) during the time before, during, and after your pregnancy could wind up warding off life-threatening or debilitating health issues in the long run. The question about whether or not vaccines can lead to autism or birth defects has a lengthy history of debate, but as of now, the ASRM maintains that “there is no medical evidence that vaccinations cause autism or other issues in children whose mothers were properly vaccinated.”2 Beyond assessing your current physical state, there may also be certain behaviors and routines that you might want to implement or change during the time in which you are TTC. We will discuss the ways in which you can achieve your healthiest state, habits to avoid, and some common conception misconceptions in the next chapter.   [avafootnote]

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  1. Center for Disease Control, Division of Birth Defects, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (2015 April 28). Retrieved November 20, 2015, from
  2. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2015). Fact Sheet: Are vaccinations a good idea if I’m trying to get pregnant? Retrieved November 20, 2015, from _pregnant/

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