Pregnancy and the COVID vaccine

Reviewed: May 20, 2021
If you are pregnant or think you might be, we can completely understand why you'll have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. That's why we're sharing some helpful information from the professionals at NHS England, to help you be better informed about how it all works!

 

I’m pregnant and have been invited to have my Covid-19 vaccine, what are my next steps?

The Covid-19 vaccine is being offered to pregnant women at the same time as everyone else, based on age and clinical risk.

If you have been invited for a Covid-19 vaccination and are pregnant, or think you might be, we encourage you to have a conversation during your appointment with a healthcare professional at a vaccination centre, or speak with your GP practice or maternity service for advice prior to attending.

Pregnant women are being offered the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, because they’ve been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries. The National Booking Service ensures pregnant women are seen at a location that can offer you the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Is COVID-19 disease serious in pregnancy?

Although the overall risk from COVID-19 disease in pregnant women and their new babies is low, in later pregnancy some women may become seriously unwell and need hospital treatment.

Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of intensive care admission than women of the same age who are not pregnant. Women with COVID-19 disease are also 2-3 times more likely to have their babies early than women without COVID-19.

Pregnant women with underlying clinical conditions are at even higher risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19.

 

Which vaccines are available to pregnant women?

Pregnant women are being offered the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, because they’ve been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries.

More than 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated in the United States with these vaccines,  with no specific concerns raised about safety so far.

None of the vaccines available in England contain live coronavirus, so they cannot infect you or your baby.

There is no evidence so far to suggest that any COVID-19 vaccines used in England are unsafe for pregnant women, and there is no evidence that they will cause any problems for women wanting to become pregnant in the future.

 

I’m pregnant and have already had my first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. Should I have my second dose?

It is recommended that women receive the same vaccine for both doses.

If you have already received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and didn’t experience any serious side effects, then you should continue to receive a second dose.  Serious side effects from this vaccine are thankfully very rare and even less likely in the second dose.

 

I’m breastfeeding, can I have the vaccine?

If you are breastfeeding, you can receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines available. You do not need to stop breastfeeding when you get a vaccine. None of the vaccines contain virus that can reproduce inside your body or spread to your breastmilk. You should be reassured that by receiving the vaccine, you are protecting yourself while continuing to provide your baby with the benefits of breastfeeding.

 

Will the vaccine give me or my baby Covid-19?

You cannot get Covid-19 from the vaccines because they do not contain live coronavirus. There are no additional ingredients that are harmful to pregnant women or their babies in the vaccine.

 

Can I try for a baby after being vaccinated?

If you are offered the vaccine while trying to conceive, this should not affect your decision about vaccination. There’s no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination.

There is no evidence that the vaccines cause problems with fertility, or that they will cause any problems for women wanting to become pregnant now or in the future

 

Where can I find more information?

For more information, Public Health England have produced a helpful guide to COVID-19 vaccination for all women of childbearing age. This is available on their website.

The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Royal College of Midwives have also produced a decision aid here to help you decide whether to receive vaccination.

 

This guide was brought to you by The Lowdown. We are the world’s first contraception review platform, providing real-life experiences from thousands of reviews collected from our community of men and women.

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