Flu Vaccine In Pregnancy
Influenza is a very common and highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It is much more severe than the common cold and results in at least 2-3 days in bed. Catching flu in pregnancy can lead to increased risks for both pregnant women and their babies. Flu complications lead to tens of thousands of hospital stays and an average of 600 deaths in the UK every year.
This page provides information about:
- Key facts about the flu vaccine for pregnant women
- Who is eligible and how to get the vaccine?
- How effective is the NHS flu vaccination in pregnancy programme?
- Safety and side effects
Should Pregnant Women Get A Flu Shot
As flu season approaches, youve likely seen and heard a lot of encouragement to get your flu shot and for a very good reason. Getting vaccinated is one way you can help protect yourself, your family and those around you. Influenza vaccines are available at your doctors office, and some workplaces even provide them.
Amidst all the talk about the flu, one question I hear every year is from pregnant women wondering whether theyre supposed to get a flu shot. Some even assume they shouldnt get the flu shot because they are so used to their doctors and pharmacists telling them not to take certain medications while pregnant. To dispel any myths or misunderstandings about receiving the influenza vaccine while pregnant, read on.
How Can I Protect Myself And My Unborn Child From The Flu
Get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available in your area. You will need to get the flu shot. The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. If you get the flu shot during your pregnancy, research shows it provides some protection to your baby both while you are pregnant and after the baby is born.
In addition, follow the tips outlined below to keep you and your baby healthy this flu season.
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What Are The Benefits Of A Flu Shot During Pregnancy
The foremost benefit of getting the flu shot is that it protects you and your baby. The flu shot can help prevent you from getting the flu and lower your risk of developing issues, such as pneumonia, that may affect both you and your unborn child. In fact, the CDC reports it may reduce your risk of developing an acute respiratory infection by up to percent.
- Lowers risk of hospitalization. The CDC also reports that the flu shot may lower your risk of hospitalization with flu-related complications by as much as
Flu Shot For Pregnant Patients
I am pregnant. Is it recommended to receive the inactivated influenza vaccine ?
Yes. Flu shots are an effective and safe way to protect you and your baby from serious illness and complications of the flu. The flu shot given during pregnancy helps protect infants younger than 6 months who are too young to be vaccinated and have no other way of receiving influenza antibodies. The flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years, and flu shots have been shown to be safe for pregnant women and their babies.
During which trimester is it safe to have a flu shot?
The flu shot is recommended for pregnant women and can be given at any time during pregnancy. Pregnant women are advised to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to speak to their health care providers about being immunized.
Which flu vaccine should pregnant women receive?
Pregnant women should receive the flu shot, which is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that pregnant should receive this vaccine.
Will the flu shot give me the flu?
No, you cannot get the flu from receiving the flu vaccine.
Is there a flu vaccine that pregnant women should not receive?
Are preservative in influenza vaccines safe my baby?
What else can I do to protect my baby against the flu?
I am breastfeeding my baby. Is it safe to get vaccinated?
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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.
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.
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The Flu Shot Is Safe For Pregnant Women
Flu shots are a safe way to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from serious illness and complications of flu, like pneumonia. The flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years. Flu shots have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. It is very important for pregnant women to get the flu shot.
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.
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Principles For Developing Pregnancy Recommendations
Formulating policy to guide vaccination of women during pregnancy and breastfeeding is challenging because the evidence-base to guide decisions is extremely limited. In 2008, CDC published Guiding Principles for Developing ACIP Recommendations for Vaccination During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding to provide guidance to help standardize both the process of policy formulation and the format and language of recommendations for pregnant and breastfeeding women to CDC workgroups or subject matter experts developing vaccine statements subsequent to that date.
If You’ve Had The Flu Vaccine Before
Even if youve had a flu vaccine in the past, you need to get vaccinated again this year because the virus changes constantly and your immunity reduces over time.
If youve been pregnant before, remember that a healthy flu-free pregnancy last time is no guarantee you wont catch flu this time. To make sure you get the maximum protection, you must get the vaccine again.
During vaccination, strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place.
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Heres Why We Recommend That Pregnant Women Get A Flu Shot
Put this risk of severe complications from the flu together with the relative low risk of the flu vaccine, and its easy to understand why getting the flu shot during pregnancy is so strongly recommended.
Getting vaccinated against the flu during pregnancy has benefits for your baby as well. Newborns, like pregnant women, are more likely to get seriously ill or even die if they get the flu. Your baby cant get a flu shot until 6 months of age. However, if you get the flu vaccine during pregnancy you will pass antibodies to your baby that will protect him or her from the flu in the first few months of life. This is especially important for babies that will be born during flu season .
Is It Safe To Get A Flu Shot During Pregnancy
Getting a flu vaccine while pregnant is safe and recommended. In fact, pregnant people are one of the highest risk groups for developing serious complications from the flu.
“Influenza can be much more dangerous to pregnant women and their babies than to non-pregnant women,” notes Dr. Karp. “So, if you’re pregnant during flu season, your OB or midwife will advise getting a flu shot as early as possible.”
Even though there is a nasal spray vaccine available, people who are pregnant should only get the injection and not the nasal spray.
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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.
How Can I Protect My Baby Once He Or She Is Born
Breastfeeding protects babies because breast milk passes your antibodies to your baby. The antibodies in breast milk help fight off infection. Studies show that babies who are breastfed do not get as sick and are sick less often than babies who are not breastfed.
If you get the flu, do not stop breastfeeding. Unless directed by your health care provider, continue to nurse your baby while being treated for the flu.
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Who Is Eligible And How To Get The Vaccine
The flu vaccine is available to all pregnant women in the UK for free on the NHS, along with other groups at high risk of flu complications. The vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy. Women should ask their midwife about where to get the vaccine. In some areas it is available from antenatal clinics and in other areas women receive the vaccine at GP surgeries.
The flu vaccine can safely be given to pregnant women at the same time as the pertussis vaccine. In the 2020-21 flu season, 44% of pregnant women in England received the flu vaccine.
See pages on Influenza and the Flu vaccine for more general information.
Is It Safe To Mix And Match Your Booster Dose If Youre Pregnant
In the fall of 2021, the Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization that allows adults to receive any available COVID-19 vaccine as their booster shot regardless of which vaccine they received for their initial vaccination.
This extends to people who are pregnant, too, says Dr. Goje. On December 17, 2021, the CDC advised that either of the mRNA vaccines Pfizer or Moderna were preferable for a booster shot, especially with the Omicron variant, she says.
If neither of those vaccines is available, though, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still safe to receive as a booster.
Vaccines wane over time so by receiving the booster, youre improving immunity for both yourself and the fetus, says Dr. Goje. Youre doing yourself and your child a favor by getting the booster.
Even if youre not pregnant, Dr. Goje says you should still get the booster if you plan on trying to conceive in the future.
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Do I Need To Get The Flu Vaccine Every Year
The flu vaccine is needed every year for two reasons.
The first is that your bodys immune response to influenza decreases over time. Receiving the vaccine every year helps you have continued protection.
The second reason is that the influenza virus is constantly changing. This means that the viruses that were prevalent in the previous flu season may not be in the upcoming season.
The flu vaccine is updated every year to include protection against the influenza viruses most likely to circulate in the upcoming flu season. A seasonal flu shot is the most effective protection.
recommends that children over 6 months of age receive the flu vaccine. Children under 6 months old are too young to receive the vaccine.
Flu vaccine side effects in babies are similar to those in adults. They may include:
- low-grade fever
- muscle aches
- soreness at the injection site
Some children between ages 6 months and 8 years may need two doses. Ask your childs doctor how many doses your child needs.
Pregnant women should get the flu vaccine every year. Changes in your immune system during pregnancy lead to an increased risk of severe illness or hospitalization due to influenza.
Both the and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend pregnant women get the seasonal flu shot in any trimester of pregnancy.
While additional studies need to be completed to investigate this concern, both the
Whats The Big Deal About Getting The Flu When Im Pregnant
The pregnant you is not the same as the non-pregnant you, especially when it comes to your immune system.
In general, your immune system is dialed down a bit in pregnancy. But interestingly enough, your pregnant immune system may actually respond more intensely in certain situations. And how you respond to the influenza virus is one of those situations. It is thought that this altered immune response, along with changes in how your heart and lungs work, are why pregnant women who get the flu often have much more severe symptoms, serious complications, and can even die from the infection.
There is also some evidence that having the flu in the first several weeks of pregnancy might be associated with an increased risk of your baby being born with certain birth defects.
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When Should I Get A Flu Shot During Pregnancy
Flu season can last from as early as October until as late as May. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot as early in each flu season as possible so youre protected from the start.
But its never too late to get immunized. So if you havent yet been vaccinated against the flu, go now! And remember: The vaccine is updated yearly, and immunity wanes with time so even if you got the flu shot last year, you need to get one again this season.
People Who Would Like To Have A Baby
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future , as well as their partners.
Johnson & Johnsons Janssen COVID-19 vaccine: Women younger than 50 years old should especially be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination. There are other COVID-19 vaccines available for which this risk has not been seen. If you received a J& J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, here is what you need to know. Read the CDC/FDA statement.
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Increased Risk For Severe Illness From Covid
Although the overall risks are low, people who are pregnant or recently pregnant are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared with people who are not pregnant. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death. Additionally, people who have COVID-19 during pregnancy are at increased risk of preterm birth and stillbirth and might be at increased risk of other pregnancy complications.
Tell Your Doctor About Any Side Effects
It is possible to see some mild side effects for a short period of time after getting immunized. “You may experience soreness at the injection site, fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, or headache,” Dr. Langdon notes. Reach out to a healthcare provider with any concerns about your side effects.
In very rare cases, you may experience an allergic reaction. Call a healthcare provider or an emergency number immediately if you experience symptoms like breathing problems, dizziness, or a fast heartbeat.
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Does The Flu Shot Have Mercury In It
Only some multi-dose flu vaccines have a tiny amount of thimerosal, an ethyl mercury-based preservative in multi-dose vials. But there is no evidence that exposure to thimerosal in this vaccine causes harm, although it may cause minor redness and swelling at the injection site.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
How Do I Get The Flu Vaccine
Contact your midwife or GP surgery to find out where you can get the flu vaccine. It’s a good idea to get vaccinated as soon as possible after the vaccine becomes available in September.
In some areas, midwives can give the flu vaccine at the antenatal clinic. In others, you will need an appointment at a GP surgery.
Some community pharmacies now offer the flu vaccine on the NHS.
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