Flu shot while pregnant
Those 9 months are filled with dos and don’ts. Which list is the flu vaccine on?
Vikki Mioduszewski Published: November 27, 2019
Winter brings cooler temperatures, cozy nights inside, hot chocolate and other delights of the season. But with each dip in the temperature, ready or not, the dreaded flu season is here.
Not only does the flu lead to physical misery and missed school, work and vacations, it can also cause serious problems, especially for babies, toddlers, the elderly and pregnant women. It’s important to avoid the flu at all costs, not just for yourself, but for your family and those around you. If you’re pregnant, you may worry about what remedies and preventive measures you can safely take to fight the flu.
How can I avoid the flu?
The best way to treat the flu is to never get it in the first place, and getting a flu shot is the best means of prevention. Not only is it safe for pregnant women, but it's also recommended by the CDC, physicians and specialists who care for pregnant women. The flu shot protects pregnant women and unborn babies and even protects a baby for about 6 months after he or she is born. Since babies cannot get a flu shot until 6 months of age, having a flu shot while pregnant means mom will share the protective antibodies from the vaccine with her baby.
Why is the flu shot so important?
Pregnant women have a higher risk of complications from the flu. Pregnancy can increase the severity of flu symptoms and pregnant women are more likely to require hospitalization due to complications.
Having a flu shot reduces your chances of getting the flu and minimizes the flu’s severity, should you get a strain not covered by the vaccine.
“It is not only important to get children immunized against influenza, but also others who are around them so that children can be ‘cocooned,’ especially those who cannot get vaccine for any reason and those who may not respond to the vaccine,” said Mobeen Rathore, MD, chief of pediatric infectious disease and immunology for Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Is the flu shot safe?
The flu vaccine has been used safely by millions of pregnant women without known problems to the mother or child. Flu vaccines are made according to the highest standards and developed after years of testing. No evidence exists connecting vaccines with thimerosal to the risk of autism spectrum disorder. Thimerosal is a preservative that protects multi-dose flu shots from contamination with bacteria or germs. You can always request a flu shot made without thimerosal, which comes in single-dose vials.
The flu shot can make you feel slightly sick or produce soreness or redness in the injection area. These side effects, as unpleasant as they may be, outweigh the risks of potential complications of the flu. The flu shot is safe to have at any point during pregnancy.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re pregnant, but we’re here to help! From the flu to your baby’s first steps, the MyFamily app from Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital has vetted tips from trusted health professionals to guide you throughout your pregnancy. You can download MyFamily in the app store on Apple and Android devices for more tips and reminders throughout your pregnancy.