Maternal immunization as a strategy to decrease susceptibility to infection in newborn infants

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2013 Jun;26(3):248-53. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e3283607a58.


Purpose of review: Following on from the success of maternal tetanus vaccination, recent research has shown that other vaccines given in pregnancy can protect against vaccine-preventable infections in early infancy. This review will outline these recent developments and highlight the impact on current clinical practice.

Recent findings: Maternal immunization provides protection to the newborn through the transfer of vaccine-induced IgG across the placenta, a process that is affected by multiple variables. The safety of newly recommended maternal vaccines has been further tested in recent studies. Maternal vaccination against influenza and pertussis is recommended in the United Kingdom and United States, with new studies indicating their efficacy. A number of additional maternal vaccines are also in the pipeline, which could be used to combat neonatal infection. Recent research findings have highlighted some of the reasons for the poor uptake of current recommendations among pregnant women.

Summary: Tetanus, influenza and pertussis vaccines are now recommended for use during pregnancy, with new vaccines, such as group B streptococcus and respiratory syncytial virus, being developed to prevent important neonatal infections in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Maternally-Acquired*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / immunology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Vaccines / standards
  • Whooping Cough / prevention & control


  • Vaccines