Susceptibility to illness when pregnant

Here, pregnant women talk to us about their ideas about the risk of becoming ill and how that impacts on their decision to have a vaccination or not. Whether people decide to have a vaccination or not, is often influenced by whether they feel at risk of becoming ill from the illness. Some of the pregnant women we spoke to said that they did not feel any more at risk from flu or Covid-19 due to being pregnant while others recognised that they were at more risk. 

The following information was collected from women and is comprised of their personal viewpoints about vaccination


Not feeling more at risk

When pregnant women felt they were generally healthy, and did not experience any long-term health conditions, they did not feel particularly at risk from illness, or complications from illness purely because they were pregnant. This perception of not being at risk was part of pregnant women’s decisions not to vaccinate.*1

Evidence box
*1 Pregnant women are at increased risk from infectious disease due to changes to their body and immune system as a result of being pregnant.

I have had COVID, so ... For me, it wasn’t that traumatising. I know, well, obviously, it is quite, can be severe for other people. But obviously I’m, I’m quite healthy, young, fit, a person with no other health conditions, so, for me, it was ... I don’t really wanna put something, like, in my body that hasn’t been medically researched enough…Whereas my body can naturally fight it and will do so, so that, that was my thoughts behind it (Fiona, 25-34).
No. I feel, I feel the same… ‘Cause I’ve had a, quite an uncomplicated pregnancy as well (Haniya, 25-34).

Those pregnant women that did recognise that they were at increased risk of becoming ill from flu or Covid-19 whilst pregnant, often used this as a reason for accepting vaccinations they had been offered.

Before pregnancy, I was ... I had my COVID jab, but I wasn’t too bothered about having the boosters. But since being pregnant, I’m like, “I definitely need my boosters to make sure I’m okay, because I’m more vulnerable” (Sian, 25-34).
And really without pregnancy I would not take. But in pregnancy, because you’re more aware you’re vulnerable and also for baby, I will take it to be on the safe side (Nirupama, 25-34).

Feelings of responsibility

We spoke to pregnant women about feelings of responsibility behind getting vaccinated. The decision about vaccinations was sometimes driven by a sense of responsibility or...


Here, pregnant women talk about how their decisions about vaccinations were often influenced by fear. This was identified as both fear of illness, and fear...