When To Get The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is available from October to the end of April each year.
You can get the vaccine at any point in your pregnancy. But try to get it as early in your pregnancy as you can.
If you were pregnant during last year’s flu season and got the flu vaccine, you’ll still need to get this season’s flu vaccine.
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.
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.
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Other Things To Consider
If you are pregnant and planning to get a flu shot, here is what you can expect:
Common side effects of the flu vaccine during pregnancy are the same as if you werent pregnant. These include arm soreness from the injection, headache, fever, muscle aches and nausea.
The flu vaccine can be given during any trimester of the pregnancy, but preferably early on in the flu season.
Pregnant women should not receive the inhaled flu vaccine. Although studies have shown no pregnancy complications even when mother received the inhaled formulation, its still considered safer to receive the vaccine through injection.
Anyone who has a severe, life-threatening allergy to any component of the vaccine formulation should not receive the vaccine.
If you have a severe allergy to eggs, talk to your doctor about whether you should receive the flu vaccine. While many people with egg allergies can safely receive the flu vaccine, extra precautions often are needed.
Breastfeeding mothers also are encouraged to get the flu vaccine, especially since their newborn will not be able to get the flu vaccine until six months of age. By receiving the flu vaccine while nursing, mothers have the opportunity to provide added protection for their infant in the first months of life when their baby is most vulnerable.
Can Having The Flu During Pregnancy Cause Autism
Study leader Dr. Michael Schwartz at the Center for Infections and Immunity of Columbia Universitys Mailman School of Public Health conducted this study and he found no evidence that laboratory diagnosis alone of maternal flu during pregnancy is associated with a womans risk for ASD in their children
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Should You Get The Shot Is It Safe
Changes to a pregnant woman’s immune system can make her more sensitive to the flu. You should get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available in your area.
- The flu shot is the only flu vaccine approved for pregnant women. You should not get the nasal spray.
- If you get the flu shot during your pregnancy it will provide some protection to your baby after he or she is born.
- Once the baby is born, breastfeeding will help your baby stay healthy during flu season.
- If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions Expand All
- What is influenza ?
Influenza is more than a bad cold. It usually comes on suddenly. Signs and symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, coughing, and sore throat. It can lead to complications, such as pneumonia. Some complications can be life-threatening.
- Who is at risk of developing complications from the flu?
Certain people have an increased risk of developing flu complications. These include the following groups:
Adults 65 years and older
Children younger than 5 years
People who have illnesses or conditions like asthma, heart disease, or cancer
Normal changes in the immune system that occur during pregnancy may increase your risk of flu complications. You also have a higher risk of pregnancy complications, such as preterm labor and preterm birth, if you get the flu. You are more likely to be hospitalized if you get the flu while you are pregnant than when you are not pregnant. Your risk of dying from the flu is increased as well.
The flu vaccine triggers your immune system to make antibodies against the flu virus. Antibodies circulate in the bloodstream. If they encounter a flu virus, they tag it for destruction by other parts of the immune system. It takes about 2 weeks for the body to build up protective antibodies after you get the flu shot.
Fever or feeling feverish
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Flu Remedies For Pregnancy
If you have the flu, all you want to do is pop a Nyquil and drift off to a long nights sleep. During pregnancy, most combination medications like that are off-limits. Take heartthere are some home remedies that provide real relief:
- Take a hot shower, or breathe warm, humid air from a facial steamer to help a cough.
- Gargle with warm salt water if you have a sore throat or cough.
- Drink hot tea with honey and lemon to soothe a stuffy nose and sore throat.
- Use a saline rinse to loosen nasal congestion and mucus.
- Apply warm and cool compresses for muscle aches and sinus pain.
- Hydrate with warm broths and eat bland food if youre having stomach issues.
- Rest as much as possible.
Getting the flu during pregnancy does have risks, but proper communication with your healthcare providers can help you feel better in a safe way. And if you havent yet, get your flu vaccination. Then you can ensure that your pregnancy is as healthy and worry-free as possible .
Is It Safe To Get The Flu Shot While Pregnant
by Savannah Koplon, University of Alabama at Birmingham
When pregnant, women are more susceptible to contracting different viruses like the flu or the common cold and cough as a result of a lowered immune system. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot, there is confusion about the safety and efficacy of the flu shot during pregnancy, how the flu shot may impact an unborn baby, and more.
Tera Howard, M.D. in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Women’s Reproductive Health Care and at UAB Medicine’s Leeds Clinic, addresses common questions and concerns that women may have about the flu shot during peak flu season.
Q: Is the flu shot safe for pregnant women and the baby?
A: The flu shot is very safe for both mom and baby. In fact, giving mom the vaccination during pregnancy provides added protection to a newborn baby, who cannot get vaccinated until 6 months old. A common myth is that the flu shot gives you the flu, which is not true. Another common myth is that the flu vaccine, like other vaccines, gives the baby autism. This is also not true.
Q: Should pregnant women get the flu shot?
Q: If I am pregnant and start experiencing flu-like symptoms, what should I do? Should I visit the ER?
Q: What can I do to protect myself and my baby from the flu and other seasonal viruses?
Q: Can you get the flu shot at any point during pregnancy?
Q: If I have the flu, can I breastfeed my baby?
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Im Pregnant When Should I Get The Covid Vaccine Can I Get The Flu Vaccine Too
- Im Pregnant. When Should I Get the COVID Vaccine? Can I get the Flu Vaccine, Too?
In December of 2020, about a week before Christmas, Valerie Gotie, N.P., had a decision to make. Unlike the classic questions at this time of year like what food to serve or which last-minute gifts to buy this was a weightier worry. Valerie was three months pregnantshould she get the COVID vaccine?
In pregnancy, timing is important. It is no surprise that the question of when to get vaccinated is top-of-mind for pregnant people, who want to do what is best for their unborn baby.
Valerie, a nurse practitioner who works in Orthopaedics and the Wilmot Cancer Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center, made her decision without much hesitation. After conducting her own research and talking with her husband, she told her doctor she planned to get vaccinated. Her obstetrician agreed it was the right thing for Valerie to do, and she got her shot before Christmas.
Some of my coworkers, who werent pregnant, questioned why I did it so soon, said Valerie, who was eligible for the vaccine earlier than most, given her role as a health care provider. When you are pregnant, your immune system is automatically compromised. I wanted to protect myself and my baby as best I could, because Ive seen firsthand the devastating effects of viruses like COVID. Respiratory distress and respiratory failure are beyond frightening.
Getting A Flu Shot Is Still Best For Mom And Baby
The CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , and the American Academy of Pediatrics continue to recommend the flu shot for pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy, not only for the benefit of the mom but also because it provides the baby with antibodies that can help protect the baby after birth.
Infants cannot get their own flu vaccine until 6 months of age, so the antibodies you pass to your child are vital. As of September 2, 2017, more than 100 pediatric flu deaths already have been reported for the 2016/2017 flu season. The peak flu season traditionally is September through March, but theres no way to predict with certainty how early the flu season will start or how long it will last. Early indications from countries in the southern hemisphere where flu season has already started suggest this year will see a lot of influenza activity.
Some women worry that the flu shot will make them sick. This is untrue. Flu shots are made from dead viruses that cannot give you the flu but you may notice some minor side effects such as soreness at the injection site, low-grade fever, or muscle aches, which are annoying but not worrisome.
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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
Will The Flu Shot Hurt My Unborn Baby
Pregnant women, regardless of stage of pregnancy, will remain safe with the flu shot, which is based on an inactivated virus. When used as intended, vaccinated against a nasal spray, pregnant women should stay away from it. You should consult your doctor if you are experiencing concerns regarding the flu shot during pregnancy.
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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.
How Effective Is The Flu Vaccination In Pregnancy Programme
The flu vaccine works better in some years than others .
US studies of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 found that pregnant women were four times as likely to develop serious illness and up to five times as likely to be admitted to hospital, compared with the general population. As a result of the evidence from this pandemic, pregnant women were added to the list of groups considered to be at higher risk from seasonal flu.
In the UK between 2009 and 2012, flu was the cause of death for 36 women who died during pregnancy or shortly afterwards. It is estimated that half of these deaths could have been prevented by flu vaccination. See the 2014 summary report from MBRRACE-UK .
Recent research covering almost 20,000 pregnant women over six years in the United States, Australia, Israel, and Canada, showed that the flu vaccine provided a 40% reduction in hospitalisations from flu. The PREVENT study looked at data between 2010 and 2016 to identify flu-related hospital admissions .
Studies have shown that women who have been vaccinated against flu are less likely to give birth prematurely, and less likely to have a low-birthweight baby . Other studies have shown that women who have the flu vaccine while pregnant are less likely to experience stillbirth .
Flu vaccination in pregnancy also means that flu antibodies are transferred through the placenta to the baby. This gives the baby some protection against flu for the first few months of life.
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Is It Safe To Take Flu Shot During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, women can get vaccinated against influenza. It has been possible for millions of pregnant women to receive flu shots during the past three decades, despite the fact that the live influenza vaccine hasnt been proven effective. So pregnant women shouldnt have live influenza vaccine delivered during the pregnancy.
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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It Is Safe To Receive Flu Shot During Pregnancy
Washington, DCHaywood L. Brown, M.D., president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released the following statement on the safety of the influenza vaccine during pregnancy:
ACOG continues to recommend that all women receive the influenza vaccine. This is particularly important during pregnancy. Influenza vaccination is an essential element of prenatal care because pregnant women are at an increased risk of serious illness and mortality due to influenza. In addition, maternal vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect newborns because the vaccine is not approved for use in infants younger than six months.
The safety of vaccines used during pregnancy is of critical concern to ob-gyns. ACOG carefully tracks pregnancy-related vaccine safety information through its involvement in the National Vaccine Advisory Committee through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . For many years, ACOG and the CDC have recommended that every pregnant woman receive a flu shot in any trimester. Multiple published studies, as well as clinical experience, have all supported the belief that the flu vaccine is safe and effective during pregnancy.
For more information on the safety of influenza vaccination during pregnancy visit ACOGs Immunization for Women website.