During your pregnancy you will be offered vaccinations to protect you and your baby against influenza (flu) and Pertussis (whooping cough). Your midwife will discuss both vaccinations with you during your first booking appointment.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
There has been a sharp rise in cases of whooping cough in previous years which puts new-born babies at risk as it is too early to start their vaccinations. By having the vaccination whilst you are pregnant this will offer protection for your baby from developing whooping cough as a new-born.
You will be offered the whooping cough vaccination from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks of pregnancy by your midwife or at your GPs.
When you are pregnant having the flu vaccine will help protect both you and your baby. Being pregnant increases your risks of developing complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Flu in pregnancy can also lead to premature birth, a low birthweight and in may even lead to stillbirth.
The best time to have the flu vaccine is during the months from September to March. This is when flu is most prevalent.
You can have the flu vaccination at any point during your pregnancy. This will be offered by your GP or your midwife. Full details.
If you have any further worried or concerns about having a vaccination in pregnancy, please discuss this with your midwife.
The risks of Covid-19 in pregnancy are difficult to determine accurately. Emerging data shows an increased risk of hospitalisation and oxygen requirements for pregnant women contracting Covid-19 in the second and third trimester of pregnancy (1).
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation confirms that although the available data do not indicate any safety concerns or harm to pregnancy, there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy (2).
However, if you have any of the following clinical conditions you would be considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable and the options of vaccination during pregnancy should be discussed with your midwife and a consultant
The clinical conditions currently listed are:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- Those with severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
- Those who have homozygous sickle cell disease
- Those receiving immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- Those receiving dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5)
- Those with significant congenital or acquired heart disease
Additionally, if you are a frontline health or social care worker, including carers in a residential home, you should discuss the option of vaccination. This is because the risk of exposure to COVID-19 may be higher.
If you are unsure about being at risk, please discuss with your Midwife who will discuss with a consultant and arrange an appointment for you with the consultant to discuss options.