Pregnant women

NHS Scotland recommends that all pregnant women should have the free flu vaccine every time you're pregnant. This is because 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 so need extra protection. Complications may include as early labour, low birth weight and stillbirth.

Every year in Scotland, a number of pregnant women will get influenza (flu). Some will need 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 3 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 other vaccines

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. This is 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, it's recommended that you get the vaccine.

Other vaccines during pregnancy

There are 2 other vaccines offered during pregnancy – coronavirus and whooping cough.

Find out more about the coronavirus and whooping cough vaccines in pregnancy

Last updated:
31 January 2023