- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
Healthy pregnancy (18)
- Leg cramps during pregnancy: Preventable?
- Vaccines during pregnancy: Are they safe?
- Air travel during pregnancy: Is it safe?
- see all in Healthy pregnancy
First trimester (3)
- Implantation bleeding: Normal in early pregnancy?
- Birth control pills: Harmful in early pregnancy?
- Nausea during pregnancy: A good thing?
Second trimester (1)
- Fundal height: An accurate sign of fetal growth?
Third trimester (1)
- Hypnobirthing: How does it work?
Pregnancy problems (9)
- Chickenpox and pregnancy: What are the concerns?
- Pregorexia: A legitimate problem during pregnancy?
- Cervical length: Why does it matter during pregnancy?
- see all in Pregnancy problems
Vaccines during pregnancy: Are they safe?
I'm wondering about vaccines during pregnancy. Which vaccines are recommended and which ones should I avoid?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
Generally, vaccines that contain inactivated (killed) viruses can be given during pregnancy. Vaccines that contain live viruses aren't recommended for pregnant women.
Two vaccines are routinely recommended during pregnancy:
- Influenza (flu) shot. The flu shot is recommended for women who are pregnant during flu season — typically November through March. The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus, so it's safe for both you and your baby. Avoid the nasal spray vaccine, which is made from a live virus.
- Tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. One dose of Tdap vaccine is recommended during each pregnancy to offer protection from whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus and diphtheria, regardless of when you had your last Tdap or tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccination. Ideally, the vaccine should be given between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Whooping cough can be dangerous — even life-threatening — for infants. Getting the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy can help protect you from the infection and might also help protect your baby after birth.
In addition, if you're traveling abroad or you're at increased risk of certain infections, your health care provider may recommend other vaccines during pregnancy — such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal or pneumococcal vaccines.
Certain vaccines should generally be avoided during pregnancy, including:
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Human papillomavirus
- Measles, mumps and rubella
If you're planning a pregnancy, talk to your health care provider about any vaccines you may need beforehand. Live vaccines should be given at least a month before conception.Next question
Air travel during pregnancy: Is it safe?
- Gerbie MV, et al. Pertussis disease in new mothers: Effect on young infants and strategies for prevention. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2009;113:399.
- Immunization and pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/downloads/f_preg.pdf. Accessed Dec. 8, 2010.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 years and Adults Aged 19 Years and Older — United States, 2013. MMWR. 2013;62:1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/su6201a3.htm. Accessed Jan. 31, 2013.
- Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm. Accessed Dec. 8, 2010.
- Immunizations during pregnancy. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/Immunizations-During-Pregnancy.aspx. Accessed Dec. 9, 2010.
- Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, 2011. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule.pdf. Accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Appendix A: Summary of ACIP recommendations for prevention of pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria among pregnant and postpartum women and their infants. MMWR. 2008;57:48. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5704.pdf. Accessed Feb. 14, 2011.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 10, 2010.
- Pertussis (whooping cough) — What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Pertussis. Accessed Nov. 11, 2011.