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Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the coronavirus vaccine

All pregnant women will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as people of the same age or risk group. If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, it’s recommended that you discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with your clinician before proceeding. If you’re breastfeeding, or planning to breastfeed, you can continue breastfeeding after vaccination.

Pregnancy and COVID-19

The risk to pregnant women and newborn babies following COVID-19 infection is generally low. However, pregnant women are more likely to have severe COVID-19 infection if they: 

  • 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 two to three times more likely that your baby will be born prematurely.

Therefore it’s recommended that pregnant women 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

As with most medicines and vaccines, large clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy have not been carried out. However, the available data do not indicate any harm to 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.

Please read the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists information about the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination before attending your appointment. If you have any questions about it, get in touch 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 you can choose to either: 

  • get your second dose using the same COVID-19 vaccine during your pregnancy (unless there is a medical reason for you not to have the same vaccine) 
  • wait to get your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after your pregnancy.

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.

So if you are breastfeeding, or planning to breastfeed, you can continue breastfeeding after vaccination.

Clinical trials on the use of COVID-19 vaccines while breastfeeding are not advanced. However, the available data do not indicate any harm to the breastfed infant.

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.