Should You Get a Flu Shot During Pregnancy?

Sep 01, 2023
Should You Get a Flu Shot During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time of excitement and anticipation, but it also comes with added responsibility to ensure you and your baby's health, which should include a flu vaccine.

Your immune system changes during pregnancy, making you more susceptible to certain infections, including influenza. 

Contracting the flu while pregnant can lead to severe complications for both mother and baby. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu, such as pneumonia. The flu also increases expectant mothers' risk for pregnancy complications, such as preterm labor and birth. 

For these reasons, the team at Glendale Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC, in Glendale, Arizona, like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), strongly recommend that pregnant patients get flu shots, and the earlier, the better. 

Getting vaccinated is the best defense against the flu for everyone. But during pregnancy, it not only protects the mother but also gives her baby some immunity. This is critical because infants under 6 months old are too young to receive their own flu vaccine. The antibodies the mother passes on during pregnancy can protect the baby during these vulnerable early months.

Safety of flu vaccination during pregnancy

The flu shot is safe for pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy. Extensive studies have validated this. There’s no evidence that the vaccine increases the risk of pregnancy complications or harm to the baby.

The importance of timing

Women can receive the flu shot anytime during pregnancy. However, getting vaccinated early in the flu season provides the most substantial benefit. That’s because it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop antibodies that protect against the flu virus.

If you plan to become pregnant, get a flu shot before becoming pregnant. This will protect you from the flu and reduce the risk of complications during early pregnancy.

Dispelling common myths

Despite overwhelming evidence supporting flu vaccination during pregnancy, some misconceptions persist. One common myth is that the flu shot can cause miscarriage. However, studies have shown that this is untrue.

Another myth is that the flu shot contains harmful substances for pregnant women and their babies. The flu vaccine is rigorously tested and designed to be safe for pregnant women. It does not contain any live virus and is free from harmful substances that could harm the baby.

What to do if you are pregnant and get the flu

If, despite being vaccinated, you develop flu symptoms (fever, cough, body aches, headache, etc..), call your doctor right away. They will prescribe antiviral medicine that can reduce the length and severity of your illness. Don’t hesitate to call. These medicines work best when started early. 

To learn more about protecting yourself against influenza and for all of your prenatal care concerns, contact Glendale Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC, today.