Can I get a flu shot if I am pregnant?
Beckee Lucas, RN-C, BSN, is the nursing manager of labor and delivery at Banner Ironwood Medical Center in San Tan Valley, Ariz.
Question: Should I get the flu vaccine while I’m pregnant?
Since 2004, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee and American College of Obstetrics has recommended women who are pregnant or will be pregnant during influenza season be immunized with the inactivated influenza vaccine.
During pregnancy, women are more likely to become severely ill and have a higher mortality rate due to an increase demand on the body related to pregnancy.
Studies have shown that pregnant women who are immunized are less likely to have babies who are born premature, have respiratory disease, or need to be hospitalized, according to Kathleen Neuzil, MD, of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
In addition to providing protection to the mother, the influenza vaccine has been shown to provide protection to the baby up to two months after birth.
The risks of receiving the vaccine are small, with the greatest risk having an allergic reaction to the vaccine itself. The virus in the influenza vaccine you will receive is a “killed virus,” so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine itself.
Many people report mild tenderness at the injection site and mild fatigue for one to two days post injection. These risks can be discussed best with your OB doctor and you can find information on the CDC web site.