Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Immunisation information for women who are planning a pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Fast facts

Women should discuss their vaccine history with their GP or obstetrician before becoming pregnant to make sure they have the best protection.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding 

COVID-19 vaccines

It is safe to receive COVID-19 vaccines when trying to conceive, when pregnant and when breastfeeding. All COVID-19 vaccines are free.

Women planning a pregnancy and women who are currently pregnant are strongly encouraged to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Women who become infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy are more likely to need hospitalisation or intensive care, when compared with non-pregnant women. This can also lead to their unborn baby being at a higher risk of premature delivery and needing specialist hospital care.

COVID-19 antibodies from mothers can be passed onto infants through the placenta or in breast milk, providing babies with some protection against disease.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Flu vaccines

It is safe and recommended for women planning pregnancy, pregnant women and breastfeeding women to receive flu vaccines. Flu vaccines should be given every year and are provided to pregnant women for free.

Pregnant women are at a greater risk of experiencing symptoms of severe flu and its complications if infected, compared with non-pregnant women of the same age. They are more than twice as likely to be hospitalised than other people.

Babies less than 6 months of age are also at a higher risk of severe symptoms and death if infected with flu. When a pregnant woman receives a flu vaccine during pregnancy some of the antibodies can be passed onto her unborn baby which will provide protection for the first few months of their life until they are old enough to receive their own flu vaccine.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Whooping cough vaccines

Whooping cough vaccines are safe, recommended and free for pregnant women to receive during every pregnancy (even those closely spaced together). The best time to receive a whooping cough vaccine when you’re pregnant is between 20 and 32 weeks.

Babies less than 6 months of age are at the greatest risk of severe symptoms of disease and death from whooping cough if they are infected. When a pregnant woman is vaccinated during pregnancy, antibodies can be passed onto her unborn baby providing them with protection until the baby is old enough to be vaccinated.

Whooping cough vaccines are also safe for women planning pregnancy and those who are breastfeeding.

It is important that family members and close friends are also up to date with their vaccines.

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and immunisation

Everything you need to know