There is a lot of conflicting information floating around out there when it comes to the pros and cons of getting a flu shot while pregnant.

But the medical community will tell you that not only is getting the flu shot safe, it could save yours or your baby’s life.

For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, ALL strongly recommend getting a flu shot while pregnant. 

 

Why Flu Poses Greater Risk During Pregnancy

 

Changes in a woman’s immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy makes them more prone to severe illness from the flu and more likely to develop complications if they contract it.

The greatest concern is pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening illness that may also increase your risk of preterm labor. You also have a higher risk of flu-related complications during the postpartum period.

In addition, studies have also shown that getting a flu shot while pregnant can pass antibodies on to your baby.

This can help protect them against flu for six months after birth. The period during which babies cannot be vaccinated.

Since flu can cause serious illness in young babies, you may want to encourage other family members living in your house to get the flu shot too, as an added precaution.

You don’t want dad or big sis passing on the flu to your baby either!

 

Getting A Flu Shot While Pregnant

 

Precautions And Considerations:

  • You should NOT receive the nasal flu vaccine, which is no longer recommended for anyone. Be sure to get the shot.
  • If you’re sick or have a fever, wait until you are well to receive the flu shot.
  • If you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to a flu shot or other vaccine in the past, talk to your doctor first.  
  • Also talk to your doctor if you have an egg allergy. Egg proteins are a component of the flu vaccine. You may still be able to get vaccinated with additional safety measures, but it should be done in consultation with your doctor.
  • If you’re worried about the preservative thimerosal (used in some flu shots) you can ask for a dose of thimerosal-free flu vaccine. It’s become more widely available and you should be able to find it now.

Get the flu shot as soon as it’s available (usually Sept./Oct.). You want to be protected before the season starts.

It actually takes about two weeks from the time your get the vaccine until your body makes the antibodies. So the sooner you get your flu shot while pregnant, the better.

You can usually get the shot from your doctor at your prenatal visit. Many pharmacies also offer flu shots.

Or you can check out HealthMap’s flu vaccine finder.

If you have any questions or concerns about getting a flu shot while pregnant, be sure to discuss them with your doctor before you make your final decision.

 

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