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What are the Side Effects of Flu Shots During Pregnancies?

Updated on June 5, 2015

It is highly advisable for women to get flu shots while undergoing a pregnancy. At this stage, a women’s body has to work harder to fight infections - making them more vulnerable to flu like symptoms.

Once you get the flu, the person becomes prone to further health complications, which could later on even lead to life threatening situations. For instance, women with pneumonia are at a higher risk to various health disorders especially during preterm labor.

On the other hand, side effects to using flu shots during pregnancy is fairly minimal and the procedure comes highly recommended by a number of highly credited medical organizations. There is also evidence to indicate that flu shots given to the mother provides certain forms of protection to the baby as well. The mother will pass on some antibodies to the child during birth and this will likely make the newborn, less vulnerable to the flu.

Flu Shots Side Effects During Pregnancy

The most common side effect to a flu shot, is experiencing some pain in the injected area. Once the shot has been administered, the region might become a little sore and is usually accompanied by some mild swelling as well. The pain should quickly abate in a couple of days.

Few people are also known to report symptoms of cough, headaches, runny nose or sore throat. These side effects are normally mild and should not interfere with your day to day duties. It should also be noted that certain people may develop a fever of 101 degrees, which is another common side effect of using flu shots during pregnancies. The symptoms usually clear completely within two days.

Some mothers are worried about the presence of thimerosal (preservative) in flu vaccines which contains minute amounts of mercury. Governing bodies like the ACOG and CDC have done their bit to allay these fevers. They have found no evidence of the preservative causing harm to either the mother or the child. If you are still skeptical, you can ask your doctor to administer a vaccine that does not contain thimerosal.

Severe side effects to flu shots during a pregnancy are very rare. It is however advisable to play it safe while approaching your physician for vaccination. Keep your doctor fully updated on your overall state of health.

Precautions to Prevent Side Effects of Flu Shots during a Pregnancy

If you are suffering from a bout of fever, wait for the symptoms to subside before getting a vaccine. In case you experienced any allergic reactions during your previous shot, you must make sure to consult with your doctor on how to proceed.

People with Guillain Barre - a rare medical condition, are required to inform the doctor before taking the shot. If the individual contracted the illness within 5-6 months of getting the previous shot, the physician would have to then weigh the overall health risks involved.

Pregnant women allergic to eggs also need to be careful about side effects while taking flu shots. Depending on the type of reaction, it would be advisable to avoid the vaccine or take it with special precautions.


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