YES! We cannot stress this enough. If you are pregnant, please get a flu vaccination as soon as possible. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that all pregnant women get a flu shot to protect both themselves and the baby. If you are on the fence about getting a flu shot during your pregnancy, either because you just hate shots or you don’t want to experience side effects from the vaccine, consider some of the benefits of the flu shot.
First off, the protection you get from the flu vaccine doesn’t only protect you from the nasty virus, it also passes on to the baby during pregnancy. Pregnancy actually lowers your immune system, so the vaccine can help protect the baby or minimize the symptoms of the flu. In fact, if a mother gets a flu shot during her pregnancy, the protection extends to the baby after birth. This is especially important since babies under six months are too young to get vaccinated against the flu. There is research that shows when a flu vaccine is given to the mother (or surrogate), there is a 70 percent less chance of the baby getting the virus.
The flu can be dangerous for you and the baby, causing low birth weight, premature birth, stillbirth, hospitalization, or in some very serious circumstances, death. The flu shot is safe for pregnant women and it doesn’t matter what trimester you are in. Just don’t get the nasal spray flu vaccine as that is a live, weakened virus. The flu shot is a few seconds of pain for a worthy outcome of increased health for you and the baby.
While many have their own opinion regarding vaccinations, we recommend that you talk to your doctor for more information and any risk associated with getting or opting out of the flu shot.