Pregnant Women Should Get the Flu Vaccine Shot to Protect Themselves and Their Baby

Flu season is practically here and many people are scurrying to get their flu shot. A lot of pregnant women (like myself) try to avoid unnecessary treatment, but I will personally advocate that the flu shot is a necessary part of being pregnant. You now not only have your own health to worry about, but also the health of your unborn child. A mother receiving the vaccine can help your baby develop antibodies to fight off the virus. This is important because although babies are at very high risk for complications from the virus, they cannot be vaccinated until they are at least six months old.

Flu season typically occurs November through January, according to the Center for Disease Control, and you try to get your shot prior to this window, definitely before December, the peak of flu season.

While pregnant, you fall into the group of people that are considered especially high risk for the flu. You have now joined the ranks of the elderly, young children, chronically ill people and health care workers. Pregnancy can impair your immune system, therefore making you more susceptible to the flu and also more likely to develop complications should you contract the virus.

It is important that you get the shot and not the nasal spray vaccine, so make sure that the facility administering your shot is aware of your pregnancy. The nasal spray contains a live, although weakened, version of the virus and is not recommended for pregnant women.

Discuss with your doctor before being vaccinated if you have an allergy to eggs (a component in the vaccination) or have a previous severe reaction to the vaccine. Many doctors will want to monitor pregnant women receiving the shot closely after administering it, so make sure that you let your doctor know if you develop a high fever, numbness, or anything that you find alarming. It may turn out to be nothing, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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sandybo63 5 years ago from Morgantown

Thank you for your article. My daughter is expecting her first child and received a flu shot. She ran a fever for a day or two and had mild flu like symptoms, but compared to a full blown case of the flu, it was tolerable and well worth it since pregnant women are so limited as to what they can take to help with cold and flu symptoms.

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