Don't Wait to Vaccinate-Especially if You're Pregnant
Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, Director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, discusses the importance of flu vaccines for pregnant women. He explains that if you are pregnant and unsure about getting a flu shot, consider the following:
- 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 (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu.
- The flu also may be harmful for a pregnant woman’s developing baby; a common flu symptom is fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes.
- Getting a flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting against flu.
- The flu shot given during pregnancy has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby from flu for several months after birth (and before the baby is old enough to be vaccinated).
- The flu shot is safe. Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women over many years with a good safety record.
It is recommended that pregnant women get an inactivated influenza vaccine (aka the flu shot); the nasal spray vaccine should not be given to women who are pregnant.