Pregnant women are advised to get the flu vaccine, because influenza (what we commonly call the flu) is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than those who aren’t pregnant.
- Reduced risk of miscarriage, premature births and low birth weight.
- Boosts the baby’s immune system which will provide protection up to a few months after birth.
What to expect
It doesn’t matter what stage of pregnancy you receive the jab. The vaccine isn’t known to pose any risks to the mother or the baby, even during breast feeding. It’s also safe to receive the flu vaccine and the whooping cough vaccine (see below) at the same time.
Side Effects may include: headache, sweating, aching and fever with local redness, swelling and pain around the injection site. Serious side effects are very rare.
Whooping cough (Pertussis) vaccine (Boostrix IPV)
Research shows that babies born to vaccinated mothers are 91% less likely to suffer from whooping cough (Pertussis) compared to those born to unvaccinated mothers.
In the UK, this vaccine has been administered routinely since October 2012. There’s no evidence to suggest any danger to the mother or unborn child.
What to expect
It’s usually given to the mother during weeks 28-32 of pregnancy. Immunity is transferred to the baby via the placenta and protection lasts until they are old enough to be vaccinated themselves, usually around 2 months old.
Side effects may include swelling, redness and irritation at the injection site (upper arm), fever, low appetite, headache and irritability. These may last for several days. Serious side effects are rare.
Only those in the high risk category would receive this vaccine (if their partner is a sufferer, for example).