Information for pregnant women

The Royal College of Midwives and Scotland’s Chief Medical and Chief Nursing Officers recommend that all pregnant women should have the flu vaccine, even if you’ve had it before, or if this isn’t your first baby.


Five reasons to get the vaccine: 

1. Every year in Scotland, a number of pregnant women will get flu, some of whom will require hospitalisation and intensive care treatment.

2.  The flu vaccine can help protect you and your developing baby against flu.

3. The vaccine contains no live viruses, so it can't give you flu.

4. It’s safe for your baby, and for you at any stage of your pregnancy.

5. Pregnant women are more at risk of flu-related complications and need extra protection.


Who is eligible for the flu vaccine? 

Pregnant women in Scotland are eligible for the free flu vaccine.


How does the vaccine work?

The vaccine helps to protect your baby and you against this year’s flu virus. Even if you’ve had a flu vaccine in the past, you need to get protected again this year because the virus changes constantly and your immunity reduces over time.

If you’ve been pregnant before, remember that a healthy flu free pregnancy last time is no guarantee that you won’t catch flu this time. To make sure you get the maximum protection, you need to get the vaccine again.

The vaccine contains no live viruses so it can’t give you flu, but it can stop you catching it. It’s quick, safe and free in Scotland if you’re pregnant.


Why is the flu vaccine recommended for pregnant women? 

Flu is much more than a bad cold. Pregnant women are particularly at risk because your immune system is weakened. This means flu can have more of an impact, putting you and your developing baby at risk of complications such as stillbirth, low birth weight and early labour.


Where can I get the flu vaccine? 

Contact your GP practice to make an appointment. It only takes a few minutes to get immunised and can help keep your baby and you in the best possible health over the winter.

The flu vaccine is available from October to March. It takes around 10 days to work, so the sooner you get it the better.

Last reviewed on 19 January 2018

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