Pregnancy vaccines

Vaccines in pregnancy

There are certain vaccinations that are offered to you during your pregnancy which will help to protect you and your baby.  During your pregnancy, you can receive your flu, COVID-19, and whooping cough vaccines.  

Vaccines in pregnancy

Some vaccines, such as the inactivated seasonal flu vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine and the whooping cough vaccine, are recommended during pregnancy to protect the health of you and your baby. An inactivated vaccine does not contain a live version of the virus it is protecting you against.

Some vaccines, such as the tetanus vaccine, are perfectly safe to have during pregnancy if necessary.

But it does depend on the type of vaccination. If a vaccine uses a live version of the virus, such as the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, you'll usually be advised to wait until after your baby is born before you get vaccinated due to potential risks.  You need to discuss these with your midwife or doctor before deciding whether to have a vaccine.

Find out more about vaccinations during pregnancy.  Find out more about how to look after yourself and your baby at keeping well in pregnancy.

Flu vaccine

It's recommended that anyone who is pregnant should have the flu vaccine, whatever stage of pregnancy they're at. This vaccine is free.

During pregnancy, your immune system (the body's natural defence) is weakened to protect the pregnancy. This can mean you're less able to fight off infections. As the baby grows, you may be unable to breathe as deeply, increasing the risk of infections such as pneumonia.

These changes can raise the risk from flu and anyone who is pregnant is more likely to get flu complications than people who are not pregnant, and they are more likely to be admitted to hospital. Having the flu vaccine means you're less likely to get flu.

Find out more about the flu jab in pregnancy

Covid-19 vaccine

If you're pregnant, or think you might be, it's strongly recommended you get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect you and your baby.  Please note that the seasonal COVID-19 vaccine is currently available to pregnant women during late autumn/early winter.

You're at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you're pregnant. If you get COVID-19 late in your pregnancy, your baby could also be at risk.

It's safe to have the vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. You do not need to delay vaccination until after you have given birth.

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any live viruses and cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

Find out more about pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination.

Whooping cough

Whooping cough is a very serious infection, and young babies are most at risk. Most babies with whooping cough will be admitted to hospital.

When you have the whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy, your body produces antibodies to protect against whooping cough. These antibodies pass to your baby giving them some protection until they're able to have their whooping cough vaccination at eight weeks old.

Find out more about the whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy.

Travel vaccines

When you're pregnant, it's best to avoid visiting countries or areas where travel vaccinations are required.

See the TravelHealthPro website for information and advice about travel vaccinations for different countries

It may not always be possible to avoid areas that require vaccinations when you're pregnant. If this is the case, talk to a midwife or GP, who can tell you about the risks and benefits of any vaccinations you might need.

Find out more about travelling in pregnancy.