The flu is more likely to cause a serious illness in a pregnant woman than someone the same age who is not pregnant. That is but one reason to get the vaccine. Should you get the flu shot during pregnancy? Absolutely!
Flu Shot Protects You And Your Baby
The antibodies in the flu vaccine will not only protect you from serious illness, but will also pass that protection on to your developing baby through the placenta and through breast milk later. These antibodies will last after your baby is born and before it is safe for your infant to get a flu vaccine.
Fever is a common symptom of the flu, and unfortunately it is linked to neural tube defects and certain detrimental complications after birth. Having a fever from the flu early in pregnancy can increase the risk of fetal birth defects and other problems.
Pregnant Women Are More Susceptible To Serious Illness
During pregnancy there are changes to a woman’s immune system, the heart, and the lungs which can last up to 2 weeks postpartum. A severe illness during this time can result in hospitalization.
It Is Beneficial To Get A Flu Shot During Pregnancy
Getting the flu vaccine is the most important step in protecting anyone from the flu. (The nasal spray is not recommended for pregnant women.)
Other benefits include the following:
- Reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infections by half
- Reduces the risk of hospitalization caused by the flu by 40%
- Helps to protect your new baby for the first few months after birth when they are too young to get the flu vaccine
- The flu shot is completely safe
Anytime And Anywhere
When is the best time for a pregnant woman to get the flu shot? It is safe to get the flu shot anytime during pregnancy including all 4 trimesters.
You can be vaccinated at your primary care physician’s office, at many participating drug stores, Walmart, and urgent care clinics.
Additional Steps To Remain Healthy
It is important to remain healthy during pregnancy. Getting enough sleep, frequent hand washing, covering a cough, eating well, and practicing good health habits will contribute to an illness-free pregnancy.
Contact Women’s Care of Alaska at (907) 279-2273 if you have additional questions about a flu shot during pregnancy.