A Flu Shot During Pregnancy?
Getting a flu shot while you are pregnant is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your baby. While uncomfortable and inconvenient for everyone, the flu can be particularly devastating for women who are pregnant. This is because they are particularly susceptible to the complications associated with the flu. Potential complications include miscarriage, preterm labor, premature birth and respiratory distress.
The CDC Recommends Flu Shots
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, currently recommends that anyone who is pregnant during flu season, from November through January, get the flu shot. The only exception to this is anyone who has had a severe reaction to the flu shot in the past. Women who are allergic to eggs should speak with their doctor before getting the flu shot; sometimes egg proteins are in the formulation, which can be problematic.
Flu Shot Benefits Baby
Getting the flu shot also benefits your baby. A pregnant woman who gets her flu shot will pass the immunity along to baby through the placenta. Very young babies are at particular risk for developing the flu and the associated complications, but are not able to get the flu shot until they are at least six months of age. The antibodies passed from mom to baby can be instrumental in helping to protect baby.
Tell Them You are Pregnant
Before getting the flu shot, make sure to inform the person administering the shot that you are pregnant. Currently there are two variations – an injection and a nasal spray. The nasal spray is made with the live influenza virus and is not appropriate for pregnant women. The shot, however, is made from inactivated virus and is appropriate for everyone. The flu shot is also safe for breastfeeding women, as immunity can be passed through the breast milk as well.