This FAQ section contains our questions related to Fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
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There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility in either men or women.
Yes. There is no reason to postpone having your COVID-19 vaccine as it does not affect your likelihood of having a miscarriage.
There is no need to avoid pregnancy after COVID-19 vaccination.
Yes you can. You may wish to consider the timing of having a COVID-19 vaccine during your fertility treatment, taking into account that some people may get mild side effects such as feeling tired or feeling a bit achy or sick in the few days after vaccination that they do not want to have during treatment. Your medical team will be able to advise you about the best time for your situation.
The only reason to consider delaying fertility treatment until after you have been vaccinated would be if you wanted to be protected against COVID-19 before you were pregnant.
The JCVI has now advised that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
Real-world data from the United States shows that around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated, mainly with mRNA vaccines including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, without any safety concerns being raised.
It’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine because they’ve been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues. However there have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand COVID-19 vaccines in relation to pregnancy.
Pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinician and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances, including the latest evidence on safety and which vaccines they should receive.
If you find out you are pregnant after you have had one dose of the vaccine (between doses), it is your choice to either have the second dose after the recommended interval, to wait until after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (which are most crucial for the baby’s development) or defer until after pregnancy.
Your decision should take into account your personal exposure to and risks from COVID-19. You can discuss these risks with a doctor or your midwife.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the preferred vaccines for pregnant women of any age, because of more extensive experience of their use in pregnancy. Pregnant women who commenced vaccination with AstraZeneca, however, are advised to complete with the same vaccine.
Although pregnancy increases the risk of clotting conditions, there is no evidence that pregnant women, those in the post-partum or women on the contraceptive pill are at higher risk of the specific condition of thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopaenia after the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The vaccine should work whatever the stage of pregnancy you are in.
However, as COVID-19 has more serious complications in later pregnancy, you may choose to delay your vaccine until after the first 12 weeks (which are most important for the baby’s development) and plan to have the first dose at any time from 13 weeks onwards.
As pregnant women are more likely to be seriously unwell and have a higher risk of their baby being born prematurely if you develop COVID-19 in your third trimester (after 28 weeks), you may wish to have the vaccine before your third trimester.
Vaccination is effective in preventing COVID-19 infection and its complications. Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a few days.
There is no reason to think that the vaccine will have worse side-effects if you are pregnant. More than half of women who test positive for COVID-19 in pregnancy have no symptoms at all, but some pregnant women can get life-threatening complications from COVID-19, particularly if you have underlying health conditions.
In the later stages of pregnancy you are at increased risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19. If this happens, it is about three times more likely that your baby will be born prematurely, which can affect their long-term health.
You can have your vaccine at any time in relation to the anti-D injection.
COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant women or to a developing baby. Studies have shown no evidence that the vaccine causes harm to the pregnancy or to fertility.
The COVID-19 vaccines that we are using in the UK are not ‘live’ vaccines and so cannot cause COVID-19 infection in you or your baby. Vaccines based on live viruses are avoided in pregnancy in case they infect the developing baby and cause harm. However, non-live vaccines have previously been shown to be safe in pregnancy (for example, flu and whooping cough).
Pregnant women are offered other non-live vaccines, such as those against flu. There are studies from the States that have reported babies safely born to pregnant women who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
You should not stop breastfeeding in order to be vaccinated against COVID-19. There is no known risk in giving available COVID-19 vaccines to breastfeeding women.
Breastfeeding brings many benefits to the health of you and your baby and the World Health Organisation, the JCVI and many countries around the world are recommending that breastfeeding continues.
Preliminary studies have shown that antibodies from getting the COVID-19 vaccine are passed to the baby during pregnancy and by breastfeeding, potentially protecting the baby from infection.
There is no specific timeframe to wait after giving birth to get the vaccine.