Getting a flu shot during pregnancy is one of the most important gifts you can give to yourself and your baby.
The shot is safe for pregnant women and there are fewer cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza among infants with immunized mothers.
Increased risk without vaccine
Throughout pregnancy, women may experience temporary changes in their heart, lungs and immune system, pregnant women are more susceptible to getting sick. It’s not that they lack an immune system. It just changes during pregnancy.
During the nine months, moms-to-be are more susceptible to viruses or bacteria that cause common colds or pneumonia. Those ailments can spiral into more serious problems that could require hospitalization or an intensive care stay, or even cause death. Women diagnosed with influenza during pregnancy face an increased risk of pregnancy-related complications, including preterm labor.
The flu vaccine won’t hurt the baby
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has affirmed that the flu shot is safe in any trimester.
- The risks of skipping the shot are far greater than any potential risk of getting the vaccine.
- The vaccine has not been shown to cause miscarriage.
- Pregnant mothers diagnosed with influenza face an increased risk of birth defects for their baby.
The vaccine protects the baby when they’re born
Getting the flu shot while pregnant is the best flu-prevention strategy available for newborns. Infants can’t be vaccinated until they’re at least 6 months old. However, if a woman gets the flu vaccine while she’s pregnant, they are able to give antibodies to the baby which will protect babies through their first 6 months of life.
The shot won’t make you sick
Though there may be side effects such as aches, low-grade fever, mild flu-like symptoms and soreness where you received your shot. However, the vaccine will not make you sick with influenza.
If someone does feel sick to their stomach, they likely acquired some type of virus at the same time and it probably wasn’t related. Sometimes people confuse stomach flu with respiratory influenza, but they’re totally different.
The flu vaccine does take about two weeks before it offers full protection so it is possible to catch influenza during this time period.
The bottom line
The CDC calls flu shots an important, safe way to protect mothers and their babies from serious illness and complications from the flu.
They also stress that the flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years and has not been shown to cause harm to them or their babies.
The flu is too serious of a disease to take lightly, so moms-to-be should not rely on rumors, printed materials or websites that lack credibility when they’re deciding whether to get a flu shot. Check the source. Many times when a study is done, one finding will be pulled from it for the news, but not all of the scientific information is shared.
We see every year that some healthy young person has died from influenza and we’re working toward that not happening by having people get vaccinated. And while no vaccine gives a person 100% coverage, it’s worth the potential benefit.
- Flu shot FAQs: Myths and facts
- Preparation through vaccination key to staying flu-free
- What you need to know about the flu and the flu vaccine