A whooping cough spike in Queensland has prompted a warning to pregnant women.

Over 1,500 Queenslanders have been diagnosed with whooping cough this year. Of those, 190 presented to an emergency department - up from 124 the same time last year.

Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH) acting director of infectious diseases, Andrew Redmond, says it is “terrible news”.

“This year across the state we've had roughly a 50 per cent increase in diagnoses of whooping cough, which is really terrible news,” Dr Redmond said.

“[It is] an unexpected and unwanted rise.”

Pertussis (whooping cough) causes severe respiratory problems and can be fatal for babies.

Dr Redmond says more education is needed.

“I think a lot of people engaging in good obstetric care know about it, but not everyone knows about it,” he said.

Queensland’s vaccination schedule changed recently, meaning expectant mothers can get vaccinated earlier, from 20 to 32 weeks.

More information is available here.