The changes to a pregnant woman’s immune system, heart, or lungs make them more susceptible to severe illness from the flu. This statement should be the first tenet in a guide to flu season during pregnancy, and all pregnant women should get their flu shot as soon as possible. There are even more reasons, such as the following.
A Flu Shot Protects YOU
A flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu-associated respiratory infection in up to half of all pregnant women according to the CDC. In fact, a CDC study from 2018 reported that getting the flu shot reduces a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized with severe flu symptoms, like pneumonia.
It is the first and foremost protection against the flu, but unfortunately, only half of pregnant women on average get their flu vaccination.
Even if you are generally healthy, the flu can cause serious illness when you are pregnant. Plan to have a flu shot by the end of October, and approximately two weeks after the flu shot, you begin to make antibodies to protect you.
Protect Your Baby
Once an expectant mom gets a flu shot and begins to develop antibodies, these are passed on to the baby for their protection. They also help to protect your baby for several months after birth and before they can safely have a flu shot of their own. If you decide to breastfeed your little one, you will continue to provide those antibodies through breast milk.
If you get the flu and have a fever early in your pregnancy, you risk your child having birth defects.
The Flu Shot Is Safe For Both You And Your Baby
Flu shots have been given to millions of expectant mothers for many years, and they have a great safety record. It is recommended that pregnant women can have a flu shot anytime during their pregnancy.
During this time of COVID-19, it is important to be even more vigilant to prevent flu and COVID by washing hands, trying to do social distancing, and wearing masks. In addition, avoid others who are sick and cover your cough with your elbow.
Ask for the shot rather than the nasal spray.
Watch For Flu Or COVID-19 Symptoms
Call Birmingham Obstetrics & Gynecology immediately if you begin to have symptoms regardless of whether you had a flu shot.
If you begin to have fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, or difficulty breathing, contact your obstetrician immediately.
The bottom line is there is NO REASON not to get a flu shot during pregnancy and the earlier the better.