Should You Get Your Flu Shot During Pregnancy?

Creative Commons License photo credit: MilitaryHealth

There is a good deal of controversy surrounding vaccinations and inoculations these days. While the scientific data comes down pretty clearly on the side of prevention, the fact of the matter is that some women are leery. They don’t want to put their baby at risk, and so they may avoid a shot, thinking that it’s helping their baby.

According to a group of midwives in the UK, however, doing so in the case of the flu vaccine may actually put your baby at even more risk.

The group noted that, in their area, there have been many cases of the flu for pregnant women over the past couple of years. Many have caught the flu and then became very ill. There were even some cases of flu-related death.

A bigger danger for pregnant women

Pregnant women are in a unique situation. The flu is actually likely to cause more problems for a pregnant woman than for someone who’s not pregnant. The changes that are taking place to your body during pregnancy create some risks. These changes have to do, primarily, with the heart, lungs, and immune system. These are all working overtime while you’re pregnant, and so they can have a harder time fighting off the flu.

Specific risks

Pregnant women who contract the flu face big risks, including:

  • Hospitalization
  • Death
  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm birth.

Not perfect, but the best thing going

The seasonal flu vaccine doesn’t protect against every possible strain of influenza. However, it does protect against those most common for any given year. It’s not a guarantee that you won’t get the flu, but it does give you a great deal of protection.

The flu shot is safe

The flu shot is known to be safe. Millions of women have had the flu shot while pregnant over the years. It has never been shown in research to harm a pregnant woman or her baby.

So, what do you think? Is there a good reason why a pregnant woman should not get the flu shot?


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