Should I get the chicken pox vaccine before trying to conceive?

Q: Neither my mother nor I can remember if I've had chickenpox. I'm hoping to get pregnant--should I be vaccinated just in case?

A: Contracting chickenpox during pregnancy can have serious effects on a fetus, so it is best to know your immune status prior to conceiving. Immunity can be conferred in two ways: either by having had the illness or by being vaccinated against it. If you are uncertain whether you are immune to chickenpox, a simple blood test can tell.

Use of the chickenpox vaccine is not approved during pregnancy, so if you do need to be inoculated, be sure to get it done before you conceive. If you happen to become pregnant before getting vaccinated and are found to lack immunity, avoid contact throughout your pregnancy with anyone who has the virus.