Flu can affect pregnant women more than healthy ones who are not pregnant. Changes in the lungs, immune system, and heart during pregnancy usually make pregnant women more susceptible to severe illness from the flu. Getting the flu while pregnant can also lead to pregnancy complications: premature delivery and labor.
According to studies, vaccinating pregnant women passes the antibodies to the fetus, protecting the baby for up to 6 months after birth. You can get a flu shot during any trimester when pregnant to protect you and your baby from the flu. Doing so will give you peace of mind during the flu season.
Is it safe for the baby?
The flu shot has been safely administered to pregnant women for many years. Many scientific studies support the safety of flu vaccine for babies and pregnant women.
Why should you get the flu shot?
When you are expecting, the flu can cause complications such as pneumonia. Although not 100 percent effective, the flu vaccine greatly increases your chances of getting through the flu season unscathed. However, if you still get the flu after being vaccinated, the severity of your symptoms will be reduced greatly.
The flu shot does not just protect you; it also protects your baby long after his/her birth. Research shows that moms who get the flu shot while pregnant are less likely to give birth to premature. These babies are also bigger, healthier, and less likely to end up in hospital with the flu or its complications in their first year.
Where can you get a flu shot?
You can get a flu shot at most OB-GYN practices during pregnancy. Moreover, you can visit flu shot clinics in your local supermarket or pharmacy. Because the CDC puts pregnant women at the top of the vaccination list, you will be at the front of the line.
When getting seasonal flu shots, you have to stick to needles because nasal sprays are not approved for expectant women.
When should you get the flu shot?
The flu season is from the month of October to May. Therefore, you should get a flu shot as early as possible in the season to avoid getting it. However, it is never too late to be vaccinated. If you have not been immunized, you can go now.
The flu vaccine is usually updated every year. For that reason, you should be vaccinated again even if you got the shot last year.
Which side effects do pregnant women get from flu shots?
Expectant women experience the same side effects as everyone else after being immunized. They are usually mild and include:
- Swelling or soreness from the shot
- Muscle aches
If you experience any of these side effects, they will subside in 1-2 days. In rare cases, flu shots can cause severe problems like serious allergic reactions. If you have an allergic reaction to any of the vaccine components, do not get the shot.
Can women with egg allergies be vaccinated?
Persons with egg allergies can be immunized with a few extra more measures. If you have a life-threatening allergy to any vaccine ingredient, including egg protein, do not get the shot. Pregnant women should tell the individual administering the shots about their allergies.
Can flu shots cause autism?
There is no evidence to prove that flu shots cause autism or any other developmental disorder. If you are still skeptical about the tiny amount of thimerosal in flu vaccines, you should not be; it does not cause any harm.