So What About The Research Linking Flu Shots And Miscarriage
Many studies over several years have shown the relative safety of the flu vaccine in pregnancy. Although studies involving women in the first trimester of pregnancy are limited, those studies that did include women vaccinated in the first trimester of pregnancy did not show an association with miscarriage.
In a recent study, the data suggest an association between getting a flu shot and having a miscarriage within 28 days of the vaccine, especially in those women who were also vaccinated against the H1N1 strain in the prior year.
These results are surprising. One potential explanation is the specific inflammatory response triggered by the H1N1 vaccine, with a repeat vaccination causing an even more significant response to occur. As noted by the authors of a commentary published with the original article, One important takeaway message from this study is that seasonal vaccine formulations are not all the same.
Expert panels including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have not changed their opinion based on these study results, noting that the study included only a small number of women, and those results are not outweighed by the significant amount of existing data supporting flu vaccine safety. The current guidelines that the flu vaccine is strongly recommended in pregnancy, and is safe to be given in any trimester, remain unchanged.
Where Should A Pregnant Person Get Vaccinated
There are many different options for pregnant people to receive a flu shot, including a health care providers office, at work, a pharmacy, some stores, or a supermarket. All these places give flu vaccines that are licensed and approved for use in the United States. If youve never had a problem when previously receiving a flu vaccine, then there is no reason you cant get a flu vaccine at work or a supermarket.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of The Flu
Signs of a condition are things someone else can see or know about you, like you have a rash or youre coughing. Symptoms are things you feel yourself that others cant see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy. Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:
- Being very tired or sleepy
- Fever , chills or body shakes. Not everyone who has the flu has a fever.
- Sore throat
- Vomiting or diarrhea
The flu often comes on quickly. Fever and most other symptoms can last a week or longer. But some people can be sick from the flu for a long time, including children, people older than 65, pregnant women and women who have recently had a baby.
- Feeling your baby move less or not at all
- High fever that doesnt go down after taking acetaminophen . Dont take any medicine without checking with your provider first.
- Pain or pressure in the chest or belly
- Sudden dizziness or confusion
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Vomiting thats severe or doesnt stop
- Flu signs or symptoms that get better but then come back with fever and a worse cough
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When Should I Have The Flu Jab
The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, before flu starts circulating. If you’ve missed this time, you can have the flu vaccine later in the winter although it’s best to get it earlier.
Do not worry if you find that you’re pregnant later in the flu season you can have the vaccine then if you have not already had it.
Which Flu Vaccine To Get While Pregnant
Pregnant women should receive the inactivated influenza vaccine, which is delivered by injection. They should avoid the nasal spray vaccine because the spray contains a live virus, which could cross the placenta and cause an infection in the fetus.
Side effects of the flu shot are the same for pregnant women as they are for anyone else, Riley says. They include soreness at the injection site, fatigue, and headache that can last for up to two days after receiving the vaccine.
Though rare, flu shots can cause allergic reactions, and a pregnant woman shouldn’t receive a flu shot if she is severely allergic to a component of the vaccine, like an allergy to eggs.
Generally, people with egg allergies can get the flu vaccine, even if they are pregnant. However, for those with a severe egg allergy, the CDC recommends that the vaccine is given in a medical setting, such as an allergist’s office.
And if there’s still some concern, consult a doctor about whether you might be eligible to receive another form of the vaccine.
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Should Pregnant People Be Vaccinated Against Flu
Yes! It is especially important for you to get a flu shot if you are pregnant or are newly postpartum. Getting a flu shot will help protect you and your developing baby. It even protects your baby 6 months after birth, while they are too young to get their own flu vaccine.
Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant people than in people who are not pregnant. When you are pregnant, changes in your immune system, heart, and lungs make you more prone to severe illness from flu â as well as to hospitalization and even death. If you have chronic conditions, like asthma or diabetes, your risk of complications is even higher. Pregnant people who get sick with the flu may also have a greater chance for serious problems for their developing baby, including premature labor and delivery.
Flu Shot And Miscarriage
You may have heard of a link between the flu vaccine and miscarriage. A 2017 study on this topic suggested that miscarriage is more common in the 28 days following the flu vaccine among those who had received the same vaccination the previous year.
However, consider the studys limitations. It was performed on a small group of women and examined only two flu seasons. Among the 485 women studied, only 14 had been vaccinated 2 years in a row and miscarried.
A more recent study, which was conducted by many of the same researchers, looked at 1,236 women and 3 subsequent flu seasons. This follow-up study challenged the results of the prior study, as it showed no association between the flu shot and miscarriage.
Keep in mind that 80 percent of spontaneous miscarriages happen in the first trimester, oftentimes before a woman knows shes pregnant. No other studies before or after have corroborated the findings of the 2017 study.
Based on the most recent and comprehensive information, the CDC, ACOG, and other health experts continue to recommend getting the flu shot.
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Holes In The Flu Shots And Miscarriage Study
The most important thing I want women to understand is this: This study does not say that you are at increased risk for miscarriage if you are in the first trimester, have a healthy pregnancy, and get a flu shot.
The study looked at a population of women who were diagnosed with a miscarriage during pregnancy and compared them to women who have live births. They then studied whether and when the women received a flu shot during pregnancy. The study did not specify when the women who got flu shots were vaccinated, but it stated that many received a flu shot within 28 days of the miscarriage and also received a flu shot during the previous years flu season.
The definition of pregnancy in the study is very broad. The reported pregnancies could have been diagnoses from doctors, self-reported by the patients, or determined by a lab test only. There was no requirement that the pregnancies were proved to be viable, or have a chance to be successful, before women were included in the analysis.
The majority of miscarriages in the women in the study occurred in the first trimester, with the greatest number occurring between five and seven weeks. This isnt surprising because miscarriage is so common in the general population. In fact, 80 percent of spontaneous miscarriages occur in the first trimester. Theres no way to know whether these pregnancies were going to be successful regardless of whether the women received flu shots.
Influenza Vaccine And Pregnancy
Pregnant women and their babies are at increased risk for influenza-related complications. Pregnant women are also more likely to be hospitalized with flu than women of reproductive age who are not pregnant.
CDC has received reports of flu hospitalizations and deaths in pregnant women with influenza virus infection. It is important that we stay vigilant in protecting pregnant and postpartum women from flu.
Your recommendations make a difference to your patients. The first and most important step for flu prevention is a flu vaccine. Treatment with flu antiviral drugs is our second line of defense against flu.
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What Are The Risks Of Flu In Pregnancy
Youre more likely to get the flu when youre pregnant because your immune system is weaker. Your risk of developing complications from flu is also higher, which can make you very ill. Bronchitis , is a common complication that can develop into pneumonia.
Getting the flu during pregnancy can also cause premature birth, low birthweight and even stillbirth.
The flu vaccine will help protect you and your baby during your pregnancy. It can also protect your baby for the first few months of life.
Why You Should Get A Flu Shot While Pregnant
“The flu is usually a self-limiting infection in healthy people, but can be dangerous and even life-threatening in certain high-risk people, including pregnant women,” says Dr. Mia Di Julio, OB-GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
Because of their weakened immune system during pregnancy, expectant mothers are at a greater risk of developing life-threatening complications from the flu, such as severe pneumonia, preterm labor, or severe respiratory distress, Di Julio says.
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Can A Breastfeeding Person Get A Flu Vaccine
Yes. People who are breastfeeding should get a flu vaccine to protect themselves from flu. Getting vaccinated reduces pregnant parents risk of getting sick and of passing the flu on to their babies, thus protecting their babies from flu also. This is especially important for children younger than 6 months old since they are too young to receive flu vaccine themselves.
Facts About Flu Vaccination Treatment And Pregnancy
More information on the importance of flu vaccination during pregnancy is available.
More information on the safety of flu vaccination is available.
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What Are The Benefits Of Having The Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy
There are three main benefits to being vaccinated against the flu duringpregnancy:
The vaccine protects you and your unborn baby against the flu. Theeffectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year depending onvarious factors, including how well the vaccine is matched to seasonalinfluenza strains. But research shows individuals who have the vaccine and still contract the flu are less likely to develop severe consequences. Research is currently underway to developa better vaccine that is more broadly effective and doesnt have to beadministered every season. But at the moment, the current seasonalvaccine is the best protection we have for a mum and her unborn baby.
Your baby is protected for the first few months after being born. Babiesyounger than six months are at increased risk of respiratory illnessescompared to babies of mothers who had been vaccinated against the flu.Infants cannot receive the flu shot until they are six months old making thisa particularly vulnerable time. When the flu vaccine is given in pregnancy, maternal antibodies are transferredthrough the placenta to the unborn baby, protecting the infant in their first few months of life.
The flu vaccine may also protect you against whooping cough. Recent research has found women are less likely to get whooping cough during pregnancy if theyve had the flu shot. The vaccine prevented many mums from contracting the flu, which subsequently protected them from a whooping cough coinfection.
Are Flu Shots Risky For Pregnant Women
Flu vaccines are not dangerous for pregnant women. Many large scientific studies not only support their safety in pregnancy they also show better outcomes for mom and baby, including a lower risk of stillbirth.
Yet false reports about vaccine dangers once spread like wildfire. The fears of vaccines causing miscarriage or autism were based on a few studies that were later declared fraudulent and recalled, says Dr. Ridgeway.
The flu vaccine given during pregnancy does not use live virus, making it even safer than regular flu vaccine. And if youre concerned about thimerosal, a preservative used in the flu vaccine, a thimerosal-free vaccine is available.
Fears about the flu shot giving you flu are also unfounded, she says. Sometimes, though, your body has a short-lived immune response to the vaccine.
Whatever happens in that short time is far preferable to getting full-blown flu in any trimester of pregnancy, she stresses.
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Flu Information For Pregnant Women
Pregnancy increases your risk of getting very sick from the flu. If you are pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you take the following three steps to protect yourself and your baby against the flu:
- Take everyday preventive actions.
- Take time to get vaccinated.
- Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them.
Myth: You Should Skip The Flu Shot So You Dont Get Sick From It
Skipping your flu shot while pregnant is not recommended for many reasons. Pregnant women have a weakened immune system, heart, and lungs and are more vulnerable to catching viruses like the flu. If youre pregnant and get the flu, your symptoms may be more serious and could require a hospital visit. If you are worried about getting sick from the shot, the most common side effects are generally mild and resemble cold-like symptoms such as a headache, fever, nausea, and fatigue.
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The Flu And Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body goes through changes that affect the immune system, heart and lungs. These changes make pregnant women, and women up to two weeks postpartum, more likely to get the flu and develop severe illnesses from the flu. This can lead to pneumonia and even hospitalizations. In addition, catching the flu during pregnancy can also harm your baby. The flu in pregnancy is linked with an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm birth and low birth weight babies. A fever during pregnancy, which is a common flu symptom, may be associated with neural tube defects and other poor outcomes for a developing baby.
Flu prevention is especially important during pregnancy. You can reduce your chances of becoming ill by adopting a few everyday preventive actions. These include washing your hands often, eating a wholesome diet, getting plenty of sleep, staying away from people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes and nose, and not sharing food or drinks with others. However, the most effective way to prevent getting the flu while pregnant, and even after pregnancy, is to get the flu shot.
Can Pregnant Women Get The Flu Shot
Yes, getting the flu shot while pregnant is considered safe, and flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women with a good safety record. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , numerous scientific studies and years of clinical experience have shown the flu vaccine to be safe and effective during pregnancy. What’s more, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention states that getting a flu vaccine is the most important step in protecting against the flu during pregnancy.
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Spell It Out For Me: Should I Get The Flu Shot When I’m Pregnant Or Not
Short answer: The CDC says yes, please get your flu shot. If you’re pregnant, you’re safe to get the jab at any time. For one, it’s for your health. In fact, due to changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy, you might actually be at greater risk of complications from the flu , so its a good idea to get vaccinated so you can avoid that risk.
It’s important to recognize that getting the flu is more likely to cause severe sickness during pregnancy compared to people who are not pregnant, Dr. Pathak says. People who are pregnant are at a higher risk for hospitalization from the flu. This impacts the parent’s health, but also the health of the baby, she notes.