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Though receiving the HPV vaccine while pregnant is generally considered safe, it is still recommended to wait until after pregnancy to get the vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has classified the HPV vaccine as a pregnancy Category B medication, meaning that the medication does not appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about the HPV vaccine and pregnancy before receiving the injections.
Is the HPV Vaccine Safe During Pregnancy?
For women who are pregnant, the HPV vaccine (Gardasil®, Cervarix®) is generally considered safe. This is based on animal studies that looked at the effects of the HPV vaccine during pregnancy. However, the HPV vaccine is generally not recommended during pregnancy, as the full risks of its use are not known. It is recommended to wait until after pregnancy to get the HPV vaccine.
The HPV Vaccine and Pregnancy Category BThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category B is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans, but do not appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.
However, it is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category B medicine may be given to pregnant women if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child.
Recommendations for Using the HPV Vaccine During PregnancyIf you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, let your healthcare provider know. Your healthcare provider will consider both the benefits and the risks of taking the HPV vaccine during pregnancy before making a recommendation for your particular situation.
If you have been exposed to the HPV vaccine during pregnancy, the manufacturer (Merck & Co.) has set up a Pregnancy Registry to monitor fetal outcomes. Women exposed to the HPV vaccine during pregnancy are encouraged to report this exposure by calling (800) 986-8999.