Flu: vaccine, causes, treatment, and more

Pregnant people

The flu is more serious in pregnancy – for parent and baby

  • When you are pregnant, you’re at higher risk of serious complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, if you catch flu. Flu can cause harm for those that are pregnant and their unborn babies. For example, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely or have a low birth weight. Catching flu while pregnant can also increase the need for admission to intensive care for mum and baby and may even lead to stillbirth or death.
  • Getting vaccinated is the safest and most effective way for pregnant people to protect themselves and their baby against the flu virus. However fit and healthy you might feel, if you are pregnant you need the flu vaccines early in the flu season (autumn/winter) as possible.. This ensures that you are less likely to experience complications if you catch the virus.
  • Ask your pharmacist, GP or midwife about the free, safe and effective flu vaccine. As well as other booking options, some midwives can give the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the antenatal clinic.

Visit the NHS website for more details.

How do I protect myself and my baby from the flu?

  • Get the free flu vaccine – this will reduce the chance of you getting the flu. It will help to protect you and your baby from serious illness, providing your baby with protection for the first few months of life.

Is the flu vaccine safe for pregnant women and new mums?

  • It is safe to have the flu vaccine during any stage of pregnancy and as a new mum
  • It is also safe for women who are breastfeeding to have the vaccine

Can the vaccine give you flu?

  • No - the flu virus in the vaccine has been inactivated and cannot give you the flu. Some people may develop a mild fever and have a sore arm for a few days. These mild symptoms indicate that the vaccine is teaching your body's immune system how to protect itself from the disease.

Can I have the flu jab at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine or COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Yes – it is up to you. You can have them at the same time or separately.

You do not need to delay vaccination until after you have given birth. Both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any live viruses and cannot give you or your baby flu or COVID-19.