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Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the coronavirus vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines are now recommended in pregnancy and everyone who's pregnant will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as people of the same age or risk group. Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for you and your baby. This includes reducing the risk of you being admitted to intensive care and the risk of your baby being born prematurely. It’s important to get both doses to protect yourself against COVID-19. 

There is lots of helpful information available on NHS Inform and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website to help you.

Pregnancy and COVID-19

The risk to you if you're pregnant or to your newborn baby following COVID-19 infection is generally low. However, if you're pregnant you're more likely to have severe COVID-19 infection if you: 

  • have underlying health conditions (for example diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma) 
  • are overweight 
  • are of Black and Asian Minority Ethnic background
  • are aged 35 years or over. 

If you’re pregnant and get COVID-19 with symptoms, it is twice as likely that your baby will be born prematurely.

Therefore it’s recommended that everyone who's pregnant should be offered the coronavirus vaccine, at the same time as people of the same age or risk group, to protect them from the virus. The vaccine can be given at any stage during pregnancy.

COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy

The COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK have been shown to be effective and safe. You and your unborn baby cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccines. Therefore it’s recommended that everyone who's pregnant should be offered the coronavirus vaccine, at the same time as people of the same age or risk group, to protect them from the virus.

Over 51,000 pregnant women in England and 4,000 in Scotland have received a vaccine. In addition, over 130,000 pregnant women from diverse ethnic backgrounds in the USA have received either a Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, with no evidence of harm being identified.

If you'd like to know more, please read the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists information about the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination before attending your appointment. You may wish to discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with your midwife, GP or other clinician who’ll be happy to help.

If you find out you are pregnant after you’ve received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine it's recommended that you complete the course of vaccination. Your second dose will be offered 8 to 12 weeks after your first dose.

Breastfeeding advice

The benefits of breastfeeding are well known, and the COVID-19 vaccines are not thought to be a risk when breastfeeding. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended that any suitable vaccine can be given to women who are breastfeeding. The vaccine you will be offered will be clinically appropriate for you, and will follow JCVI recommendations.

If you're breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed you can get the COVID-19 vaccine. You should not stop breastfeeding to be vaccinated against COVID-19. You can continue breastfeeding after vaccination.

Coronavirus and fertility

There’s no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility in women or men. You don’t need to avoid trying for a baby after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.

More information

The COVID-19 vaccine - Pregnancy leaflet has more information about the coronavirus vaccination programme if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

This short video also tells you more about the vaccine if you're pregnant or breastfeeding

Coronavirus vaccination helpline

For more information about pregnancy, the coronavirus vaccine and its delivery, phone 0800 030 8013 (8.00am to 8.00pm, 7 days a week).

You can find out more about the vaccine at NHS Inform.