COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy

Talk to your obstetrician, midwife or GP about getting your COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant.

It's recommended you get your COVID-19 vaccine when it's offered to you. Being vaccinated will reduce the chance of you becoming very unwell.

It may also reduce the chance of complications during pregnancy. If you are seriously ill with COVID-19 during pregnancy, complications can include premature labour or stillbirths linked to COVID placentitis.

COVID-19 vaccine evidence

The COVID-19 vaccines are new and were not tested on pregnant women during clinical trials. But more than 100,000 pregnant women in the US have now had a COVID-19 vaccine. No safety concerns have been raised for these women or their babies.

The information we have so far shows that the COVID-19 vaccines do not have any negative effect on babies in the womb. Recent reports have shown that pregnant women pass on antibodies from the vaccine. This may help to protect their babies after birth.

The COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines, so they cannot infect either mother or baby with COVID-19. The vaccines are rapidly broken down in the body and cannot become part of your or your baby’s DNA.

Read more about COVID-19 and pregnancy

Doses during pregnancy

When you get your COVID-19 vaccine, you will need 2 doses.

The 1st dose should be at or after 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The 2nd dose should be before the end of 36 weeks of pregnancy.

If the 2nd dose is not given by the end of 36 weeks, it should be delayed until after you have your baby. This is because you may get a fever after the 2nd dose.

How you will get your vaccine

Your maternity hospital will contact you to discuss your COVID-19 vaccine.

You can also talk to your obstetrician or midwife at any of your hospital appointments.

If you want to get your vaccine, they will register you and contact you about your appointment.

You will be offered a vaccination appointment within 2 to 3 weeks of being contacted.

If your next appointment is close to when you are 36 weeks pregnant, and you have not heard from your maternity hospital, contact them to discuss your options.

Where you will be vaccinated

You will be vaccinated at your maternity hospital or at a vaccination centre.

Which COVID-19 vaccine you will get

The vaccine you will be offered will depend on supply. It will be an mRNA vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently being offered to pregnant women are the:

If you have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for those aged 50 and older. This is because of the very rare risk of unusual blood clots with low platelets after the vaccine. These side effects are less likely to be reported after the 2nd dose of the vaccine.

If you have already had your 1st dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, you should still get your 2nd dose. Get your 2nd dose 12 weeks after your 1st dose.

The benefits of getting your vaccine far outweigh any risks. Being fully vaccinated will reduce the chance of you becoming very unwell. These blood clots are less likely to be reported after the 2nd dose of the vaccine.

Side effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild to moderate and short-term. Not everyone gets side effects.

Read about potential side effects after the:

The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. You will be offered a different vaccine.

Getting pregnant after your COVID-19 vaccine

You do not need to leave any gap between having your COVID-19 vaccine and getting pregnant.

If you get pregnant after the 1st dose

If you get pregnant after the 1st dose of your COVID-19 vaccine, you should wait until 14 weeks or after to get the 2nd dose.

Do not worry if you get your vaccine before knowing you are pregnant. You should wait until 14 weeks or after to get your vaccine as a precaution. This is to avoid any possible association with a miscarriage.

Other vaccines during pregnancy

You will need other vaccines during pregnancy. These are:

  • whooping cough (pertussis)
  • flu - if you are pregnant during the flu season from October to the end of April

You can get your COVID-19 vaccine on the same day or at any time before or after any other vaccine.

Read more about vaccines needed during pregnancy

Fertility treatment

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination affects fertility.

You do not need to leave any gap after having your COVID-19 vaccine and trying to conceive or to have fertility treatment such as IVF. But you may want to delay trying to conceive or having fertility treatment until you are fully vaccinated.

This is because you may get a fever in the 48 hours following your vaccine, especially after the 2nd dose of Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Breastfeeding after your COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccines have not been tested on breastfeeding women. But there is no known reason to avoid breastfeeding if you are vaccinated.

Read more about COVID-19 vaccines and breastfeeding

Last updated: 27 May 2021 at 5.10pm