While you're pregnant, it's best to avoid visiting countries or areas where vaccinations are required.
Live vaccines are thought to pose the greatest risk. This type of vaccine contains a small amount of live virus, which may potentially affect your baby.
Live vaccines include:
- BCG (vaccination against tuberculosis)
- MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella)
- oral polio (part of the 6-in-1 vaccine given to infants)
- oral typhoid
- yellow fever
It may not always be possible to avoid visiting destinations that require vaccinations while you're pregnant. If this is the case, speak to your GP, who can outline the risks and benefits of any vaccinations you may require.
If there's a high risk of disease in the area you're travelling to, it's often safer for you to have a vaccine rather than travel unprotected. This is because most diseases will be more harmful to your baby than a vaccine will be.
Pregnancy and malaria
Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to malaria. This is a very serious condition that, in severe cases, can be fatal for both a mother and her baby. Malaria predominantly affects countries in:
- South America and Central America
- the Middle East
If possible, you should avoid travelling to countries in these areas if you're pregnant. However, if you're unable to postpone or cancel your trip, preventative treatment is available. The treatment you receive will depend on the stage of your pregnancy.
If you're pregnant, you should take precautions against being bitten by insects. For example, you should:
- use a mosquito repellent specifically recommended for use in pregnancy
- wear a long-sleeved top, full-length trousers and socks to cover your skin from dusk until dawn
- always sleep under a mosquito net
Page last reviewed: 22 May 2018
Next review due: 22 May 2021