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
Can I Drink Lemon Water During Pregnancy
Lemon consumption can help relieve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and is generally a safe option. However, women planning to treat pregnancy effects with lemon should speak to their healthcare provider first. People can consume lemon in the forms of tea, water and lemon mixtures, and fresh lemon juice.
Flu Shots During Pregnancy
- By Andrea Chisholm, MD, Contributor
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Is your head already spinning from all of the confusing information about the safety of routine vaccinations? Well, news of the latest findings regarding the flu vaccine during pregnancy certainly wont help things.
A group of researchers recently reported an association between a pregnant woman getting the flu vaccine and having a miscarriage.
The authors were clear that the study could not establish that flu shots cause miscarriage. It could only report the observation that, in this small group of women, miscarriage was slightly more common within 28 days of getting the flu shot but only in women who had also gotten a specific formulation of the flu shot the previous year. More research would be needed to draw conclusions beyond that.
But before you panic or march off to your next prenatal appointment to emphatically refuse this seasons flu vaccine, lets take a step back and look at this situation a little more carefully.
Read Also: What Is The Difference Between The Flu And Pneumonia
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.
What If Youre Not Pregnant Yet Can You Get Pregnant After Your Flu Shot
You absolutely can. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that people who are trying to get pregnant get vaccinated. People who get the flu while pregnant are at a higher risk for serious illness and complications. You will have full protection 2 weeks after immunization. Choose the flu shot instead of the nasal spray vaccine if youre trying to get pregnant soon. The nasal spray contains the live virus and should not be used during pregnancy.
Also Check: What Age Is High Dose Flu Vaccine
Antiviral Medications To Prevent/treat Influenza
This sheet is about exposure to antiviral in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your healthcare provider.
What are antiviral medications and what do they do?
Antiviral medications treat viral illnesses. This fact sheet focuses on antiviral medications used to treat influenza . Symptoms of influenza may include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, coughing, congestion, runny nose, and sore throat. Some people can also have stomach upset with vomiting and diarrhea. For more information, see the MotherToBaby fact sheet on Seasonal Influenza at .
Antiviral medications can lessen the symptoms of the flu and reduce the risk of serious illness. Some of these medications may also be used to prevent a person from catching the flu. These medications can be given as an oral tablet , liquid suspension, intravenously , or as an inhaled powder.
Oseltamivir , peramivir , zanamivir , and baloxavir are the antiviral medications used for influenza prevention and treatment. Your healthcare provider will give you a prescription for the medication best for you.
Can I skip getting the flu vaccine and just take one of these medications if I happen to get sick?
I take an antiviral medication. Can it make it harder for me to get pregnant?
There are no studies that look at fertility in people taking an antiviral medication.
Donât Miss: Do You Need The Flu Vaccine Every Year
How Is The Safety Of Flu Vaccines In Pregnant People Monitored
CDC and FDA conduct ongoing safety monitoring of vaccines licensed for use in the United States.
CDC and FDA monitor flu vaccine safety during pregnancy during each flu season using the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System : An early warning system that helps CDC and FDA monitor health concerns following vaccination. Anyone can report possible vaccine side effects to VAERS. Generally, VAERS reports cannot determine if a health concern that arises after vaccination was caused by a vaccine, but these reports can help indicate if further investigations are needed.
In addition CDC conducts research studies in the Vaccine Safety Datalink : A collaboration between CDC and nine health care organizations which allows ongoing monitoring and proactive searches of vaccine-related data.
You May Like: Cvs Nighttime Cold And Flu Dosage
Flu Vaccination During Pregnancy
The flu jab will protect both you and your baby.
Pregnant women have a much higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis, a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia. Other complications are not common, but include:
- middle ear infection
- blood infection that causes a severe drop in blood pressure
- infection of the brain and spinal cord
- inflammation of the brain
- Inflammation of the heart muscle
If you have flu while youâre pregnant, it could mean your baby is born prematurely or has a low birthweight, and can even lead to stillbirth or death in the first week of life.
Getting the flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. The vaccine doesnt carry risks for either you or your baby.
Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first 6 months of their lives.
The vaccine also poses no risk to women who are breastfeeding, or to their babies.
The flu vaccine is free for pregnant women as part of the National Immunisation Program.
Read more about what vaccinations are safe during pregnancy.
Is Getting The Flu While Pregnant Dangerous
While pregnant, womens bodies go through tremendous changes from organs moving and the uterus expanding to accommodate the baby to the immune system lowering so your body doesnt reject the fetus. That being said, during pregnancy, you are more susceptible to illnesses.
The lungs and the heart work harder to provide enough oxygen and blood for both of you. This puts additional stress on your body, making it easier for the flu to creep up on you when you least expect it.
The potential for severe complications is increased when a woman is pregnant, especially if they have pre-existing health conditions. In extreme cases, it could lead to hospitalization. The biggest concern that comes from flu is pneumonia. If caught early, pneumonia can be treated without more significant risks. Still, if not, it can lead to premature birth and even cause the baby to underdevelop. A higher risk of flu-related complications if you have the flu during pregnancy can also be experienced in the postpartum period.
Luckily, complications that can arise when having flu while pregnant are rare, and usually, nothing happens. It is just better to be prepared for potential issues.
You May Like: Daytime Cold And Flu Capsules
Is The Flu Shot Recommended For Pregnant Women
We know the flu vaccine is safe for both mother and baby. We also know that the flu is not.
Changes in a womans immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make a pregnant woman especially susceptible to serious illness if she were to get the flu complications, hospitalization and even death can occur. The flu also can increase the likelihood of pregnancy complications, such as premature labor and delivery.
However, getting a flu shot during any trimester of the pregnancy can protect both mother and baby from serious illness. When an expectant mother gets a flu shot, she passes on antibodies to the baby that can protect her child for six months after birth.
These factors make getting a flu shot during pregnancy even more essential.
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.
Don’t Miss: Does My Health Insurance Cover Flu Shots
What Happens If I Still Get Sick While Pregnant
While the flu shot is the most effective way to prevent infection it isn’t a guarantee you won’t get sick. If you do show symptoms of the flu, limit your contact with others and contact your healthcare provider immediately. Your doctor should prescribe antiviral medication if you are suspected of having the flu.
Are There Any Flu Shot Side Effects When Youre Pregnant
Some people experience mild side effects after getting a flu shot, pregnant or not. The most common side effects are muscle soreness, tenderness and swelling around the injection site. But some people might experience a mild fever, muscle aches or a slight headache.
If you have any severe, life-threatening allergies or youve had an allergic reaction to a previous immunization, talk with a doctor about your vaccination options. For example, egg-free flu shots are available for those with egg allergies.
Read Also: When Should People Get Flu Shots
Why Are Pregnant Women Advised To Have The Flu Vaccine
The flu jab will help protect both you and your baby.
There is good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.
One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis, a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia.
If you have flu while you’re pregnant, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely or have a low birthweight, and may even lead to stillbirth or death.
How To Prevent The Flu During Pregnancy
The first, and best, way to avoid catching the flu while pregnant is simple: Get an influenza vaccine. Its completely safe for expectant mothersjust be sure to request the seasonal flu shot, not the nasal spray immunization. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all pregnant women be immunized .
An added bonus? Your baby will be born with protection during those vulnerable early months. Maternal flu antibodies that are produced after getting the flu vaccine cross the placenta to provide protection to babies, explains Jessica Madden, MD, a board-certified pediatrician and the medical director of Aeroflow Breastpumps. Thus, maternal flu vaccine is the best way to protect a newborn baby from getting the flu.
Then, be sure to practice the three simple hygiene rules that have become routine thanks to COVID-19:
Remember, it takes a couple days for infected people to start showing symptoms, so be careful. If youre pregnant and someone in your household has the flu, take extra steps to protect yourself. The first several days after being infected are the worst for contagion , according to the CDC. Keep your distance from the sick person, wear a mask when you need to be in the same room, wipe down surfaces, and avoid using shared items. When in doubt, wash your hands.
Read Also: Cvs Out Of Pocket Flu Shot
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.
More Reasons You Need A Flu Shot If You Are Pregnant
If you’re pregnant, a flu shot is your best protection against serious illness from the flu. A flu shot can protect pregnant women, their unborn babies, and even the baby after birth.
If you’re pregnant, a flu shot is your best protection against serious illnesses caused by the flu.
The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from flu, which can lead to hospitalization or even death. A pregnant woman with the flu also has a greater chance of serious problems for her unborn baby, including miscarriage or preterm birth.
A flu shot can protect pregnant women, their unborn babies, and even the baby after birth.
Don’t Miss: Medicine For Flu With High Blood Pressure
Why You Should Vaccinate Against Influenza In Pregnancy
Influenza vaccination is safe, free and recommended for pregnant women in each pregnancy.
Receiving the influenza vaccine when pregnant is the best way to protect newborn babies against influenza and other complications that can harm developing babies.
Why should you vaccinate against influenza in pregnancy?
00:06—> 00:22Influenza is not just a cold its a serious disease for pregnant women and their developing babies. Many women dont realise that during pregnancy there are changes to their immune, heart and lung functions that make them more vulnerable to severe illness from influenza.
00:23—> 00:28Im getting vaccinated because I had no idea how serious influenza really is for women during pregnancy.
00:29—> 00:32The influenza vaccine is safe at any time during pregnancy.
00:33—> 00:36Im getting vaccinated to protect myself and my baby.
00:37—> 00:45Influenza infection in infants can be dangerous. In the worst cases, it can lead to death from serious respiratory problems and pneumonia.
00:46 —> 00:56Thats why getting vaccinated during pregnancy is so important because it passes on protective antibodies to your baby which will protect them in the first few months of life when they are most vulnerable.
00:57 –> 01:07Im getting vaccinated because influenza is dangerous and I want to make sure my new born baby is protected until theyre old enough to get the influenza vaccination themselves at six months of age.
01:24 —> 01:28
Safety And Side Effects
Seasonal flu vaccination has been recommended in pregnancy for several years in many countries. An increasing number of studies have shown it to be safe in all stages of pregnancy, including the first three months, and to have an important reduction in serious complications for the mother and baby. Read the abstracts of a US study from 2009 and a US study from 2012.
Another US study published in 2017 studied the effects of flu vaccination in the first three months of pregnancy. It looked at birth defects in over 52,000 babies who had been exposed to the flu vaccine in the first three months of pregnancy. By comparing this group with over 370,000 babies who had not been exposed to the flu vaccine, the study showed that having the flu vaccine in early pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of birth defects.
The most commonly reported side effects of flu vaccines are:
- pain, swelling, bruising, hardness or redness at the injection site
- slightly raised temperature
Don’t Miss: Flu Shot Montgomery County Md
What Are The Fruits To Avoid During Pregnancy
Bad Fruits for Pregnancy
- Pineapple. Pineapples are shown to contain bromelain, which can cause the cervix to soften and result in an early labor if eaten in large quantities. …
- Papaya. Papaya, when ripe, is actually pretty safe for expectant mothers to include in their pregnancy diets. …
Myth: Breastfeeding Women Shouldnt Get A Flu Shot
Its completely safe to breastfeed after youve received a flu shot. By keeping yourself healthy, youre actually protecting the baby, just like getting the Tdap or whooping cough vaccines. You may be able to transfer immunity by passing along antibodies through your milk to your baby. This is a huge benefit, because children cant get flu shots until they are six months or older.
Recommended Reading: How Often Can I Take Tylenol Cold And Flu Severe
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.