Vaccines and pregnancy

All pregnant women should continue to get vaccinated. Phone your GP to make an appointment. Read more about pregnancy and COVID-19

Before pregnancy

MMR vaccine

Before getting pregnant, a woman should ensure that she is immune to infection from rubella (german measles). Rubella infection during pregnancy may cause miscarriage or stillbirth. Nine out of ten babies will have major birth defects such as deafness, blindness, brain damage or heart disease. This is known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome. Immunity to rubella can be checked by your GP.

Vaccination is the only way to prevent Congenital Rubella Syndrome. The MMR vaccine provides immunity to infection from Rubella. The MMR vaccine given before pregnancy provides protection against rubella infection in any future pregnancies.The MMR is a live vaccine and must be given at least one month before pregnancy. This will help protect both mother and her baby.

More information about MMR vaccine

During pregnancy

The immunity developed by a mother after vaccination during pregnancy is passed on to her baby in the womb. This immunity helps protect the baby during the first few months of life.

Vaccines recommended in pregnancy

Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is inactive and can be given safely at any time during pregnancy. A pregnant woman who gets the flu is at risk for serious respiratory illness and complications. Getting flu in pregnancy can also so lead to premature birth and smaller babies. Flu vaccination during pregnancy provides immunity against influenza infection to babies in the first 6 months of life.

More information about flu vaccine during pregnancy

Whooping Cough Vaccine

Women should get whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy. Pregnant women's immunity to whooping cough wanes during pregnancy and is unlikely to protect the baby. Therefore she should get vaccinated between 16 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. This is considered to be the best time in pregnancy to provide protection for the baby during the first few months of life.

More information about Tdap vaccine during pregnancy

After pregnancy

Whooping Cough Vaccine

Whooping cough vaccine should be offered to women in the week after birth who have not had a whooping cough vaccine in the past ten years to protect themselves and their baby

More information about whooping cough vaccine after pregnancy

MMR Vaccine

During pregnancy immunity to rubella is checked routinely. MMR vaccination is only required if you do not have documentation of having had at least one MMR vaccine in the past. 

The MMR given after pregnancy provides protection against rubella infection in any future pregnancies.

The MMR vaccine is safe to give while breastfeeding.

The MMR is a live vaccine and pregnancy must be avoided for one month following vaccination.

More information about MMR vaccine

This page was updated on 12 November 2021.