Flu Shots and Your Pregnancy

When women are pregnant, they go through changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs. So, women who are pregnant or who have given birth during the past two weeks are more prone to severe illness from flu.

Is the Flu Vaccine Safe For Pregnant Women and Developing Babies?

Flu Shots Are Recommended

Studies have shown that vaccinating a pregnant woman also protects her baby after birth from flu. The mom passes antibodies on to her developing baby that will protect against flu for the first several months after birth. The CDC recommends that pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester of their pregnancy to protect themselves and their newborn babies from flu. There is a lot of evidence that flu vaccines can be given safely during pregnancy, however, the nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for use in pregnant women.

Vaccine Side Effects

The most common side effects experienced by pregnant women are the same as those experienced by those who are not pregnant. If side effects occur, they usually begin soon after the shot is given and generally last for 1-2 days.

  • Soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Flu shots rarely cause serious problems like severe allergic reactions. Anyone with a severe, life-threatening allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients should not get the shot.

What About Breastfeeding Woman?

Women who are breastfeeding should get the flu vaccine to protect themselves from flu. The flu shot reduces the mothers’ risk of getting sick and of passing the flu on to their babies, thus protecting their babies from the flu also. This is especially important for infants younger than 6 months old since they are too young to receive influenza vaccine themselves.

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