Pregnant women

The Royal College of Midwives along with Scotland’s Chief Medical and Chief Nursing Officers recommend that all pregnant women should have the free flu vaccine every time you are pregnant, as the flu viruses circulating change each year.

Why should I get the vaccine?

Pregnant women are at a greater risk of serious flu-related complications such as early labour, low birth weight and stillbirth so need extra protection.

Every year in Scotland, a number of pregnant women will get influenza (flu), some will require hospital treatment or be admitted to intensive care. Those with a health condition such as diabetes or asthma are particularly vulnerable.

It only takes a few minutes to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine takes around 10 days to work, so the sooner you get it the better.

The flu vaccine:

  • can help protect you and your developing baby against this year’s flu virus during pregnancy and for at least three months after birth
  • contains no live viruses and cannot give you flu
  • is safe for your baby and for you at any stage of your pregnancy
  • can be given at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine

How do I get the flu vaccine?

Speak to your midwife about getting your flu vaccine.

If you've had the flu vaccine before

Even if you’ve had a flu vaccine in the past, you need to get vaccinated 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 you won’t catch flu this time. To make sure you get the maximum protection, you must get the vaccine again.

During vaccination, strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place.

Other vaccines during pregnancy

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine is strongly recommended in pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect you and your baby from the risks of coronavirus in pregnancy. You and your unborn baby can't catch coronavirus from the vaccine.

Further information about the vaccine during pregnancy

Whooping cough vaccine

Pregnant women are strongly advised to get the whooping cough vaccine. This will protect you and your baby against whooping cough.

You can have the whooping cough vaccine between 16 and 32 weeks. It’s best to have the vaccine as soon as you can after week 16 of your pregnancy.

More information about vaccinations during pregnancy

Further information

More information is available in the flu vaccine during pregnancy leaflet.