IBD implications for vaccinations

Medical Care for Your Newborn

IBD medication & vaccination safety

Vaccinations are one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your newborn child from illness. They help promote immunity to certain fatal diseases and protect your child from infections in the future. To ensure your baby gets the best possible protection from vaccines, it's important he or she start receiving them, typically starting at two months, during the first year of life. Before vaccinating your child, your pediatrician should know of any medications you—the mother—are taking.

The hepatitis B, DTaP, Hib, pneumococcal and polio vaccines are inactivated vaccines. That means they are made up of cells of the illness grown and killed in a lab, which the human body (even a baby's) can learn to identify and defend against without becoming infected. These types of vaccinations are safe to administer on schedule to babies born to mothers who are currently on any IBD medication. However, Rotavirus vaccines, RotaTeq (RV5) or Rotarix (RV1), are both live vaccines taken by mouth. If you're taking biologic medications (except certolizumab pegol) such as infliximab, adalimumab, vedolizumab or ustekinumab, your baby's pediatrician should not administer the Rotavirus vaccine to your newborn. However, if you're only taking the other types of immunosuppressive medications, such as steroids, mercaptopurine or azathioprine, then the rotavirus vaccines can typically be started on schedule.

A final word on infant vaccinations

While some parents may worry that vaccinating their child may increase his or her likelihood of autism, they shouldn't. Vaccine safety experts, including the Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that vaccines do not have a correlation with the development of autism. Discuss your options with your doctor and feel confident knowing you're helping your child stay healthy by vaccinating him or her.

You, your doctor and your baby's doctor should always discuss your IBD postpartum situation to discover the best healthcare strategy for you and your newborn. But it's important to know that vaccinations are one of the most, if not the most, effective way to protect your child from future illness.