Te hapūtanga me te tuku rongoā āraimate Pregnancy and immunisations

When you are pregnant, we recommend you are immunised against whooping cough, flu and COVID-19. Find what immunisations you need if you are planning a pregnancy, pregnant or when your newborn arrives.

Immunisations you need if you are planning a pregnancy

We recommend you are up to date with all your immunisations if you are planning a pregnancy.

It is particularly important to know if you are immune to:

  • measles
  • rubella
  • chickenpox.

You cannot have these immunisations when you become pregnant, and they can cause harm to you and your developing baby. 

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine

    It is very important that you have had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine at least a month before getting pregnant. You cannot have an MMR vaccine while you are pregnant.

    Measles during pregnancy can make you very sick, and can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and premature delivery.

    Rubella can cause serious birth defects in your baby — such as deafness, heart defects, and brain damage.

    To check whether you’ve been vaccinated, contact your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider and ask if you’ve had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.

    If you cannot to find out if you have been vaccinated, it is recommended you get vaccinated as soon as possible. This will be free. There is no risk in getting extra MMR doses — it is important to know that you have had 2 doses.

    Book an MMR vaccine

  • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine

    Chickenpox during pregnancy can harm your unborn child and may cause stillbirth. 

    If you are not able to find out if you have had chickenpox, or if you have not been vaccinated, it is strongly recommended you get a chickenpox vaccine before becoming pregnant. This will cost around $70.

    You are not able to have a chickenpox vaccine while you are pregnant.

    About the chickenpox vaccine

Immunisations you need while you are pregnant

Some diseases are riskier while you are pregnant. You can protect yourself and your pēpi (baby) while you are pregnant by getting 3 free vaccines.

While the vaccines do not affect your pēpi, you will naturally pass on some of your immunity. This means when they are born, they will have some protection until they are old enough to be immunised themselves. This is especially important for whooping cough.

  • Whooping cough vaccine (Boostrix)

    Whooping cough is particularly dangerous for babies especially those who have not been vaccinated. More than half of babies under 12 months old who catch whooping cough need to go to hospital, and up to 1 in 50 of these babies die.

    By getting immunised when you’re pregnant you will protect your pēpi until they can have their first immunisations when they are 6 weeks old. This is because your immunity passes to your baby through the placenta.

    The whooping cough vaccine is most effective when given from 16 to 26 weeks of pregnancy, but is available and free from 13 weeks of every pregnancy.

    Book a free whooping cough vaccine

  • Flu vaccine

    If you catch the flu when you are pregnant, you are at greater risk of getting pneumonia and are more likely to be hospitalised.

    Flu also increases the chance of complications for your baby, such as early birth, miscarriage, stillbirth and lower birth weights.

    You can get a free flu vaccination at any stage of your pregnancy.

    Book a free flu vaccine

  • COVID-19 vaccine

    Pregnant people can get really sick from COVID-19.

    Being vaccinated against COVID-19 means you are far less likely to get seriously ill. It also protects your pēpi as there is evidence that babies can get antibodies through the placenta that help protect them from COVID-19.

    As well as your first 2 COVID-19 doses, pregnant people over 16 years old, can have boosters.

    To get a booster it is recommended that you wait at least 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine or infection.

    Book a free COVID-19 vaccine

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Vaccinations for māma and whānau after your pēpi is born

Newborn babies are very vulnerable until they are fully immunised. All members of a whānau being fully vaccinated creates a bubble of protection around pēpi.

If you were not immunised against some diseases before or during pregnancy, you can get them after your pēpi is born. It is important you, and your whānau, do this so your baby is protected until they are old enough to be immunised themselves.

After your baby is born, it may be recommended that you have a free measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation. You should do this as soon as you can.

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine

If a vaccination has been missed, do not worry, most vaccinations can be caught up. If you are unsure if you or your whānau are up to date with your vaccinations, contact your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider.

All vaccines on the National Immunisation Schedule are free and safe while breastfeeding.

National Immunisation Schedule

Booking a vaccine

You can book all your pregnancy immunisations online through Book My Vaccine.

Book My Vaccine (external link)

You can also book over the phone by calling 0800 28 29 26 — 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you would prefer, you can also contact your usual doctor or healthcare provider to book a vaccination appointment.

If you need extra support

Getting ready for your baby’s first immunisations

Your baby’s first immunisations are due at 6 weeks. Make it easy and enrol them with a doctor early.

If you need help with enrolment, your midwife, the hospital, or your Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse can help you enrol your child with a doctor, or to access immunisations through another healthcare provider.

If you cannot find a doctor to enrol your child, call:

They can help connect you with a local immunisation service.

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