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Varivax and Pregnancy

Protecting Pregnant Women From Chickenpox

If a pregnant woman is infected with chickenpox, serious problems (including birth defects) could result (see Chickenpox and Pregnancy).
For pregnant women who have not had chickenpox (or this vaccine), the best way to avoid chickenpox is to vaccinate all other individuals in the household unless they have had chickenpox or the vaccine. While there is a small risk that the vaccinated individuals could develop a rash and spread the virus to the pregnant woman, the benefits usually outweigh the risks.

If a rash develops, care should be taken to avoid contact with the pregnant woman.
Non-pregnant women of childbearing age who have not had chickenpox should receive the chickenpox vaccine (both doses) and should avoid pregnancy for at least one month after receiving the vaccine.
Although the prescribing information for Varivax states that pregnancy should be avoided for three months after vaccination, both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest that this interval can be as short as one month.

Final Thoughts on Pregnancy and Varivax

At this time, pregnant women are advised not to get the Varivax vaccine. It can be given as soon as the baby is born, though, even if the woman is breastfeeding (see Varivax and Breastfeeding for more information).
If you discovered that you were pregnant when you got the chickenpox vaccine, or if you get pregnant within one month after getting the vaccine, contact your doctor or call (800) 986-8999 (toll-free). The vaccine manufacturer (Merck & Co., Inc.) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) maintain a registry for reports of women inadvertently vaccinated prior to or during pregnancy.
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Varivax Vaccine Information

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