There are certain vaccinations offered to you during your pregnancy which help protect you and your baby. Vaccines can help prevent disease or make the illness less serious. Antibodies developed while you are pregnant pass to your unborn baby and help to protect them in their first few months of life.
Which vaccines will I be offered?
Seasonal Influenza (Flu) vaccine
Flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms such as fever, chills, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, headaches and extreme tiredness.
Flu is more serious in pregnancy because your immune system is naturally weakened making you less able to fight off infections. As your baby grows you can’t breathe as deeply, increasing the risk of infections such as pneumonia. Together, these changes can increase the risk for pregnant women, especially during late pregnancy and if there are other risk factors such as diabetes.
Flu vaccination is available from the end of September to the following March. It is free for pregnant women and is safe to have at any time in pregnancy.
Flu vaccine is available most weekdays from September to March in the antenatal clinic at Kingston Maternity Unit. To check availability please call the admin team on 0208 934 2290. Pre-booking is not necessary and vaccines are available on a walk in basis when the immunisations team are in clinic.
Whooping cough is a highly infectious disease that can be very serious for babies under one year of age. Most young babies with whooping cough will need to be admitted to hospital.
Whooping cough can cause long bursts of coughing and choking making it hard to breathe, and commonly lasts for two to three months. For young babies it can lead to pneumonia and permanent brain damage. In the worst cases it can be fatal.
You can have a vaccine to protect your baby from the 16th week of pregnancy, or after your mid pregnancy scan at around 20 weeks. Your body will produce antibodies to whooping cough which are passed through the placenta to your baby. Your baby then has some protection from whooping cough until he or she receives their own vaccines at 8 weeks old.
The best time to have the vaccine is from 16/20 weeks of pregnancy up to 32 weeks. You can still have the vaccine in later pregnancy but it may not be as effective.
Vaccines are available most weekdays in the antenatal clinic at Kingston Maternity Unit. To check availability please call the admin team on 0208 934 2290. Pre-booking is not necessary and vaccines are available on a walk-in basis when the immunisations team are in clinic.
If you’re pregnant, it’s important to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect you and your baby. The antibodies your body produces in response to the vaccine can also give your baby protection against COVID-19. You’re at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you’re pregnant and evidence shows that most pregnant women with COVID-19 who need hospital treatment or intensive care in the UK have not been vaccinated.
If you’ve not had your first 2 doses and booster dose yet, it’s important to get your vaccinations as soon as possible.
A 4th Booster dose is now available-from September 2022 for pregnant women. The booster can be taken at the same time as the flu vaccine giving you good protection for the winter months.
It’s safe to have the vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. You do not need to delay vaccination until after you have given birth.
There’s no evidence COVID-19 vaccination increases the risk of having a miscarriage, pre-term birth or other complications in your pregnancy. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any live viruses and cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. They have been widely used during pregnancy in other countries and there have been no safety concerns. In the UK, over 100,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated.
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