Flu Pictures Slideshow: 10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu

Pregnancy flu shot side effects and safety facts*

*Pregnancy flu shot side effects and safety facts medical author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

  • The flu shot is absolutely safe for pregnant women, but pregnant women should not receive the nasal-spray flu vaccine.
  • Getting the flu shot during pregnancy can help protect the baby after it is born.
  • It is recommended that pregnant women get the flu shot as soon as it is available.
  • Changes in the body during pregnancy can make a woman more vulnerable to catching the flu.
  • The flu is likely to be more severe in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women.
  • The flu shot is safe for use in any trimester of pregnancy.
  • The flu shot does not cause miscarriage or problems with the pregnancy.

Should you get the shot? Is it safe?

Changes to a pregnant woman's immune system can make her more sensitive to the flu. You should get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available in your area.

  • The flu shot is the only flu vaccine approved for pregnant women. You should not get the nasal spray.
  • If you get the flu shot during your pregnancy it will provide some protection to your baby after he or she is born.
  • Once the baby is born, breastfeeding will help your baby stay healthy during flu season.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.

Why does being pregnant put me at higher risk for getting the flu?

Changes to your immune system during pregnancy can make you more sensitive to the flu. This can result in serious problems for your unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery. Additionally, fever in early pregnancy can lead to birth defects.

How can I protect myself and my unborn child from the flu?

Get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available in your area. You will need to get the flu shot. The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. If you get the flu shot during your pregnancy, research shows it provides some protection to your baby both while you are pregnant and after the baby is born.

In addition, follow our everyday steps to keep you and your baby healthy this flu season.

How can I protect my baby once he or she is born?

Breastfeeding protects babies because breast milk passes your antibodies to your baby. The antibodies in breast milk help fight off infection. Studies show that babies who are breastfed do not get as sick and are sick less often than babies who are not breastfed.

If you get the flu, do not stop breastfeeding. Unless directed by your health care provider, continue to nurse your baby while being treated for the flu.

Quick GuideNatural Cold & Flu Relief in Pictures: Neti Pots, Zinc, and Other Remedies

Natural Cold & Flu Relief in Pictures: Neti Pots, Zinc, and Other Remedies

If I have the flu, what should I do?

If you get flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. If necessary, your health care provider will prescribe an antiviral medicine to treat you. If you have a fever you should take Tylenol (or the store brand equivalent).

When should I get emergency care?

More reasons you need a flu shot if you are pregnant

If you're pregnant, a flu shot is your best protection against serious illness from the flu. A flu shot can protect pregnant women, their unborn babies, and even the baby after birth.

If you're pregnant, a flu shot is your best protection against serious illnesses caused by the flu.

The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from flu, which can lead to hospitalization or even death. A pregnant woman with the flu also has a greater chance of serious problems for her unborn baby, including miscarriage or preterm birth.

A flu shot can protect pregnant women, their unborn babies, and even the baby after birth.

The flu shot is the best protection against the flu

Getting a flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting against flu. When given during pregnancy, the flu shot has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby (up to 6 months old) from flu. The flu shot is safe to get at any time while you are pregnant, during any trimester. (The nasal spray vaccine should not be given to women who are pregnant.)

The flu shot is safe for pregnant women

Flu shots are a safe way to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from serious illness and complications of flu, like pneumonia. The flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years. Flu shots have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. It is very important for pregnant women to get the flu shot.

Early treatment is important for pregnant women

If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, call your doctor right away. If needed, the doctor will prescribe an antiviral medicine that treats the flu.

Pregnant women who get a fever should treat it with a fever-reducing medicine containing acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) and contact their doctor as soon as possible.

Pregnancy and influenza vaccine safety

Influenza (flu) vaccine safety studies are reporting good news for pregnant women. This research was presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) in October 2011.

Quick GuideNatural Cold & Flu Relief in Pictures: Neti Pots, Zinc, and Other Remedies

Natural Cold & Flu Relief in Pictures: Neti Pots, Zinc, and Other Remedies

Influenza vaccination during pregnancy protects newborns from getting influenza.

Pregnant women who get influenza vaccine pass their immunity to their babies in the form of flu antibodies. This protection lasts for several months after birth. Influenza protection was seen in newborns up to four months old. Babies born to women who were not vaccinated during pregnancy showed no antibody protection.

Influenza vaccination does not cause miscarriage.

Research shows no association between flu vaccination during pregnancy and miscarriage. This largest study conducted during the first trimester showed pregnant women who got the flu vaccine were no more likely to miscarry than those who did not get the flu vaccine.

More pregnant women are getting vaccinated against influenza.

The number of pregnant women receiving influenza vaccine has increased dramatically in the last couple of years in large part due to a national effort to vaccinate against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza during the 2009-10 influenza season. Prior to 2009, less than 15 percent of pregnant women got vaccinated. In the past two influenza seasons, over half of pregnant women were vaccinated.

REFERENCES:

FLU.gov. Who's At Risk: Pregnantn Women.

CDC.gov. Pregnancy Women Need a Flu Slot!

CDC.gov. Vaccine Safety: Pregnancy and Influenza Vaccine Safety.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Reviewed on 1/11/2013 7:16:51 PM
References
REFERENCES:

FLU.gov. Who's At Risk: Pregnantn Women.

CDC.gov. Pregnancy Women Need a Flu Slot!

CDC.gov. Vaccine Safety: Pregnancy and Influenza Vaccine Safety.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors