Can I have vaccinations if I'm pregnant?

Whether or not you should have vaccinations during pregnancy depends on the type of vaccination. If you're pregnant, any vaccinations you need will probably be delayed until after your baby is born.

It depends on the type of vaccination. Some vaccines, such as the seasonal flu vaccine and the whooping cough vaccine, are recommended during pregnancy. And some, such as the tetanus vaccine, are perfectly safe to have during pregnancy if necessary.

If the vaccine involves the use of a "live" version of the virus, such as the MMR vaccine, it will normally be given after your baby is born because these vaccines could cause your unborn baby to become infected. There is no evidence that any live vaccine causes birth defects.

In some cases, a live vaccine may be used during pregnancy if the risk of infection outweighs the risk of the vaccination.

Your GP or midwife can give you more advice about vaccinations during pregnancy.

Seasonal flu vaccine

All pregnant women are offered seasonal flu vaccination, as they are at increased risk of severe illness if they get flu.

GP practices will update patient registers throughout the flu season – which runs from the beginning of October until around January or February – and pay particular attention to women who become pregnant during this time.

The seasonal flu vaccine can be given safely during any stage of pregnancy.

Whooping cough vaccine

Pregnant women can help protect their babies by getting vaccinated against whooping cough (pertussis). Having the vaccination helps protect your baby from catching whooping cough in the first few weeks after they're born, as they will get some of the immunity from you.

The best time to have the whooping cough vaccine is between 20 weeks (after your scan) and 32 weeks. But if for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour.

Read FAQs about whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy.

Hepatitis B vaccination

If you are at a high risk of getting hepatitis B and are pregnant or thinking of having a baby, you will be advised to have the hepatitis B vaccine.

The hepatitis B vaccine is not a live vaccine and there is no evidence of any risk to you or your baby.

Read more about hepatitis B vaccination.

Travel vaccinations during pregnancy

For information about travel vaccines, see Can I have travel vaccinations during pregnancy?

Further information:

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