ZocdocAnswersShould pregnant women get the flu shot?

Question

Should pregnant women get the flu shot?

Is it really recommended that pregnant women get the flu shot? I'm not opposed to it, I just know that we and our babies are more sensitive than average people in a lot of respects. So is it definitely safe for everybody, including pregnant women?

Answer

Pregnancy raises a whole host of questions from pregnant mothers and among them frequently are questions related to medical care. Questions about the flu shot are among the most common. The simple answer is that both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that all pregnant women receive a flu shot unless they have some other contraindication. The flu vaccine is by far the best way to prevent the seasonal flu and has been safely used for decades. There are, however, a few important points that expectant mothers should know. First, as the CDC reports flu shots are a safe and effective way to prevent flu and its complications for pregnant mothers and their unborn children. It has been given to millions of women and it has not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their children. It is important to know that they are two types of flu vaccines, and pregnant women should not receive the live flu virus (nasal mist), but should instead receive the inactivated virus (shot). Not receiving the flu shot carries its own risks: the most recent strain of H1N1 flu was especially dangerous for pregnant women who sometimes required admission to the intensive care units in hospitals for treatment. Richard N. Waldman, MD, president of ACOG noted, "Pregnant women were disproportionately affected by flu complications last year—some went into premature labor, some developed pneumonia, and unfortunately, some died." Moreover, the flu vaccine can not only protect infants in the womb, but can also protect babies once they are born for up to six months as the mother’s protective antibodies circulate in the child’s bloodstream. You should talk with you OB/Gyn more about the risks and benefits of vaccination.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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