Many pregnant women are avoiding flu jabs due of fear it may harm their baby - but experts reassure that it's safe and sensible to get to the vaccine.

I'm pregnant and haven't had a flu vaccination because I'm worried it might harm my baby. Is it really necessary to have one?

Mandy Forrester, head of quality and standards at the Royal College of Midwives (, says: "For most of us, flu isn't a serious disease, though it can lay people low for a while.

"However, pregnant women are more vulnerable to catching the flu virus because their immune systems are a little weaker than normal.

"If a woman catches the flu while pregnant she has a higher chance of getting bronchitis or pneumonia. Pregnant women with flu are also at greater risk of having a miscarriage, giving birth early, or having a baby with a low birthweight.

"Tragically, flu can also be fatal - between 2009 and 2012, 36 pregnant women died from flu in the UK and Ireland.

"We know many women don't get vaccinated against flu when they're pregnant, and a recent survey by the Royal College of Midwives and Emma's Diary ( showed that one of the main reasons women don't have the vaccine is because they're worried it could harm themselves or their baby.

"But the latest evidence shows the flu vaccine is safe and effective to have when pregnant. Women who've had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.

"If women are worried about this, or any other vaccine in pregnancy, such as that for whooping cough, we advise them to speak to their midwife or doctor, who'll be able to offer information, advice and support."