It’s recommended that all pregnant women, whatever their stage of pregnancy, have the flu vaccine to help protect themselves and their babies.
Pregnant women benefit from the flu vaccine because it:
- reduces your risk of serious complications such as pneumonia
- reduces your risk of having a baby born too early or with a low birth weight
- helps protect your baby who will continue to have some immunity to flu during the first few months of life
- helps protect other children in the household
The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab before you need another one this year. It’s also advised that all pregnant women who are 28-38 weeks pregnant should have the whooping cough vaccine to help protect their babies from getting the disease.
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a serious infection that causes long bursts of coughing and choking, making it hard to breathe. The ‘whoop’ is caused by gasping for breath after each bout of coughing, though babies don’t always make this noise. When you are vaccinated, the antibodies your body produces pass to your baby through the placenta and help protect your baby until they can start their own whooping cough vaccination course at two months.
For further information contact your midwife, health visitor, GP, or go to NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk