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Pregnant and breastfeeding women

Talk to your doctor before being immunised if you are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or breastfeeding. Even if you have had certain diseases or were vaccinated as a child, you may need a booster dose to ensure you are still protected.

To find out more, talk to your doctor or midwife.

Pregnant women

During pregnancy, only two vaccinations are recommended:

  • influenza
  • combined diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), in short dTpa.

The influenza vaccine is funded for all pregnant women, however you may have to pay for the consultation.

Other vaccines are not recommended unless you are in a situation where the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. To protect your newborn, both parents should be immunised against influenza and whooping cough as soon as possible after delivery of the baby.

Whooping cough vaccination program for pregnant women

The whooping cough vaccine is currently funded by the Queensland Government for all women in their third trimester of pregnancy. This vaccination is recommended in each pregnancy to provide maximum protection for your newborn baby; this includes pregnancies which are closely spaced, e.g. less than two years.

Pregnant women should have their whooping cough vaccination in the third trimester (preferably between 28 and 32 weeks), but it can be given any time during the third trimester up to delivery.

Newborn babies (up to six weeks of age) are too young to receive their first immunisation. Vaccination during pregnancy can protect newborns from contracting whooping cough until they are old enough to be routinely vaccinated against whooping cough from six weeks of age.

The whooping cough vaccine is safe for you and your unborn baby. Vaccination during pregnancy is recommended by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council in the Australian Immunisation Handbook (10th Edition).

Download the fact sheet about the whooping cough vaccine program for pregnant women

Breastfeeding women

After your baby is born, immunisations are safe, even if you are breastfeeding.

Vaccines available


Why immunise

Immunisations can be given:


Rubella infection in a pregnant woman can cause serious birth defects in the baby. People born after 1966 may need a booster dose.

  • Prior to pregnancy (avoid becoming pregnant for 28 days after immunisation)
  • After pregnancy

Chickenpox (varicella)

Pregnant women and unborn babies can become seriously ill from chickenpox and birth defects can result in the baby. A blood test can confirm if you are protected. If you are not protected, speak to your doctor about receiving 2 doses of vaccine.

  • Prior to pregnancy (avoid becoming pregnant for 28 days after immunisation)
  • After pregnancy


Pregnancy increases the risk of developing serious complications from influenza.

  • Prior to pregnancy
  • During pregnancy
  • After pregnancy

Hepatitis B

Pregnant women can transmit the hepatitis B virus to the newborn at or around the time of birth.

  • Prior to pregnancy
  • After pregnancy

Whooping cough (pertussis)


Babies under 6 months of age are at risk of serious illness and even death from whooping cough. Parents should be vaccinated against whooping cough to reduce the risk of passing the disease onto their new baby.

  • Prior to pregnancy
  • During pregnancy (third trimester)
  • After pregnancy (soon after birth)

Pneumococcal disease


If you smoke or have chronic heart, lung or kidney disease, or diabetes, then protection against pneumococcal disease is recommended prior to becoming pregnant.

  • Prior to pregnancy


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
14 June 2016

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