Flu Shots in Pregnancy: The Breakdown

Decisions regarding your health are twice as important when you are pregnant. It sometimes seems like there are conflicting ideas about every medication, vaccination, birthing method out there. With flu season upon us, the age old question presents again. Should I get the flu shot? You have a friend who gets the flu shot every year, and he’s never sick. On the other hand, your co-worker just got the flu shot, and she now has the flu and missed work for three days. Is that a coincidence? What if you’re pregnant? CDC  (Centers for Disease Control) recommends that pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester of their pregnancy to protect themselves and their newborn babies from flu.

Should pregnant women receive a flu vaccination?

Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women due to changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs. In addition, studies have shown that vaccinating a pregnant woman also can protect a baby after birth from the flu. Since the mother passes antibodies on to her developing baby that will protect against flu for the first several months after birth until baby can receive his/her first vaccines.

Is it safe?

Yes. Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women with a high safety record. CDC continues to gather additional data on this topic.

Can pregnant women with egg allergies get vaccinated?

While most with a severe, life-threatening reaction to egg allergy or other protein should abstain from the flu vaccine, there is a safe form of flu vaccine to receive with an allergy to eggs.

What are common side effects in all patients from receiving the flu vaccine?

While the flu vaccine is a dead vaccine (meaning that no active viruses are present when administering the vaccine) it is common to have the following side effects:

  • Soreness at injection site
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Where can I get more information regarding flu vaccines?

CDC has a helpful flier that addresses additional concerns regarding flu vaccine in pregnancy. Additional information can also be found on the ACOG website, (The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists) a resource utilized by your physicians and patients.

While flu season comes and goes, decisions about your health are everlasting. Preventative vaccines may seem like a pain, (literally) but they are effective in preventing flu; this means shorter times being sick. They also provide useful antibodies to your unborn baby. Flu vaccines are available to OB and GYN patients. You can receive your flu vaccine at your next visit at our office.

Flu vaccines are an important preventative vaccine for all patients, but especially pregnant women. Find out why physicians are recommending flu vaccines at your next visit.

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