Vaccine, Measles in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Risk Factor: CM
Class: Serums, toxoids, and vaccines / Vaccines

Contents of this page:
Fetal Risk Summary
Breast Feeding Summary
Questions and Answers

Fetal Risk Summary

Measles (rubeola) vaccine is a live, attenuated virus vaccine (1,2 and 3). Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with the vaccine.

Measles occurring during pregnancy may result in significant maternal morbidity, an increased abortion rate, stillbirth, prematurity, and congenital malformations (1,2). Although a fetal risk from the vaccine has not been confirmed, the vaccine should not be used during pregnancy because fetal infection with the attenuated viruses may occur (1,2,3 and 4). The manufacturer and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists lists pregnancy as a contraindication and recommend that pregnancy should be avoided for 3 months following vaccination (1,2). A shorter interval is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (5). They recommend that women avoid becoming pregnant for 30 days after vaccination (5). However, no cases of congenital malformations attributable to measles vaccine virus have been reported (5).

Breast Feeding Summary

No data are available.


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Immunization during pregnancy. Technical Bulletin. No. 160, October 1991.
  2. Product information. Attenuvax. Merck, 2001.
  3. Amstey MS. Vaccination in pregnancy. Clin Obstet Gynaecol 1983;10:1322.
  4. Linder N, Ohel G. In utero vaccination. Clin Perinatol 1994;21:66374.
  5. CDC. Measles, mumps, and rubellavaccine use and strategies for elimination of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome and control of mumps. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 1998;47(No. RR-8):157.

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