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Can I have vaccinations if I'm pregnant?

It depends on the type of vaccination. Some vaccines, such as the seasonal flu vaccine and the whooping cough vaccine, are recommended during pregnancy. 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, although 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 the seasonal flu vaccination as they are at extra risk of severe illness if they get flu. GP practices will update the patient registers throughout the flu season and pay particular attention to women who become pregnant during the flu season (the beginning of October until around January or February). 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 from around 20 weeks, after your scan, up to 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 therefore 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:

Page last reviewed: 08/05/2015

Next review due: 15/05/2018