5 Reasons Pregnant Women Should Get a Flu Shot
Recently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued new guidelines stressing the importance of pregnant women getting the flu vaccine, no matter how far along they are in their pregnancy. The seasonal flu shot has been given safely to millions of pregnant women over many years and causes no harm to mother or baby.
Pregnant women have a higher risk for serious complications from the flu. During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system, heart and lungs go through changes, which can make them more prone to severe illness, hospitalization and even death when infected with the flu. In addition, it can cause serious problems for the unborn baby, such as premature labor and delivery.
Pregnant mothers who get the flu vaccine are also protecting their unborn babies. Babies in the womb receive antibodies from their mothers, which helps protect them until they are old enough to be vaccinated. Children cannot be vaccinated until they are at least six months old.
Breastfeeding mothers can also safely receive the flu vaccine, either through a shot or the nasal spray form of the vaccine. Breastfeeding is compatible with the flu vaccine and preventing the flu in mothers can also prevent their infant from becoming infected.
The most common side effects are mild, such as being sore, red or swollen at the injection site. Some people experience headache, muscle aches, fever, nausea or tiredness, which may last one to two days. A severe reaction can occur if the person has as life-threatening allergy to eggs or anything else in the vaccine. In this case, pregnant women should not get the vaccine.