Getting vaccines during pregnancy can raise a lot of questions and concerns. While there are many common flu shot myths, receiving the flu shot when pregnant is not only safe but could help protect your unborn baby as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “influenza (the flu) is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than women who are not pregnant.” When women become pregnant, there are many changes to the body and immune system, which increases the chance of passing along illness to your developing baby or experiencing a severe sickness of your own.
The March of Dimes states that babies whose mothers receive the flu shot during pregnancy tend to have a lower risk of flu-related hospitalizations for chronic asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and other health-related problems.
Benefits of Getting the Flu Shot When Pregnant
Flu season usually lasts from early October through April. If you’re pregnant during this time or plan to be, the CDC recommends that you and your family get the flu shot to make sure mom-to-be, expectant child, and the rest of the family is safe from the virus. If you didn’t plan on getting the flu shot and decide later that you wish to, it is safe during any trimester to receive the vaccine. Two major benefits of getting the flu shot when pregnant:
- Keep your immune system strong. Pregnancy can affect your immune system due to the extra stress that is put on your lungs and heart. When your immune system is not up to par you’ll become much more susceptible to sickness.
- Antibodies from you can help protect your baby. Once born, your new baby cannot receive the flu vaccine until 6 months of age. Scheduling an appointment to get the flu vaccine while pregnant will help pass the antibodies you develop to your baby and protect him or her as well.
Side Effects of Vaccines While Pregnant
There are two different kinds of flu vaccines that pregnant women should be aware of. There is the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine. The flu shot is created with an inactivated virus. In other words, the virus has been killed. On the other hand, the nasal-spray flu vaccine is made with live attenuated virus, which is a weakened version of the flu virus and is not safe to be received by women who are expecting.
If you are pregnant, we encourage you to speak with your obstetrician or family doctor.
If you live in the area, call us and schedule an appointment with our Board-Certified pediatrics or family practice doctors to learn more about the flu vaccine during pregnancy to help protect you and your baby. We will gladly assist you.
Now you know about the flu vaccine, pass it on!