As your body is pregnant, it is susceptible to colds, and pneumonia. Flu shots are a lifesaver in many ways when you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy is a time of heightened vulnerability for the mother and her fetus. Maternal stress, diet, and habits can have a major impact on how well the fetus is protected from diseases. Fortunately, there are various ways you can protect yourself and your unborn baby during pregnancy. When it comes to flu shots during pregnancy, however, most women feel uncertain of the benefits or risks associated with getting the vaccine while pregnant. It’s an understandable concern; after all, we are talking about injecting a foreign substance directly into your bloodstream! However, these fears are usually unfounded. In this article, we’ll give you the facts about flu vaccinations during pregnancy so that you can make an informed choice.
Table of Contents
- What is the flu?
- Why should I be vaccinated while I’m pregnant?
- Precautions for you to remember while pregnant:
- Prenatal Flu Shots: Why You Should Get One
- Adverse Effects of the Flu Shot During Pregnancy
- Who Should Not Get a Flu Shot During Pregnancy?
- Benefits of the Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy
What is the flu?
The flu, or influenza, is a viral infection that can lead to a high fever, body aches, cough, sore throat, and other symptoms. It can be dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester. Flu season is from October through May. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, headaches and body aches, muscle aches, fatigue, and general malaise. People can spread the flu by droplets from their sneezes and coughs. You can also get flu from touching something with flu germs on it and then touching your eyes or nose. Most people with the flu get better within a few days. If you get the flu while pregnant, you may have more severe symptoms. You also run the risk of complications like pneumonia, preterm labor, and hospitalization.
Why should I be vaccinated while I’m pregnant?
Being vaccinated while you’re pregnant can improve your child’s immune system while it’s warm still in your womb as well as after birth because of the specific antibodies your body will fortify him/her with.
These vaccines should contain dead viruses for your body to build up the antibody walls to combat live viruses. Live viruses can be dangerous for you while you’re pregnant. Always get that shot at the beginning or middle of autumn. Flu viruses begin around autumn.
Precautions for you to remember while pregnant:
If you have any kind of temperature, wait until the fever passes before getting the vaccine.
If there have been any allergic reactions to the flu vaccine in the past, it’s not recommended to have one.
Allergies to chicken eggs can be a red flag to your doctor and he may advise you not to be vaccinated. Always make sure your doctor knows exactly how you’ve reacted to the flu shot in past times.
NOTE: Thimerosal is a banned vaccine by the USA, the European Union, and other countries due to its content of mercury. Mercury was used as a preservative, but the effects of mercury on the body in any amount can be dangerous, so it was banned. Hence it cannot be used in childhood vaccinations.
Prenatal Flu Shots: Why You Should Get One
During pregnancy, some mothers choose to forego certain medical procedures and medications because they want to be as “natural” as possible for their unborn child. However, there are many advantages to getting a flu shot during pregnancy. Your unborn child will be at a higher risk of developing flu-related complications and being hospitalized if you get the flu while pregnant. The CDC recommends that pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester since the flu can start any time of the year. In fact, it’s recommended that all people 6 months and older get a flu shot every year, regardless of pregnancy. The flu shot is safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies. The only major side effect is a mild fever that usually only lasts a few hours. If you get the flu while pregnant, your symptoms will likely be much more severe and last longer. You may even develop life-threatening complications such as pneumonia, preterm labor, or needing to be hospitalized. The only way to protect your unborn child from the flu is to get vaccinated.
Adverse Effects of the Flu Shot During Pregnancy
Most women can and should get the flu shot during any trimester. Flu vaccinations are safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies. However, in rare cases, the flu shot can cause a mild fever after vaccination. Minor reactions such as mild fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue are common after getting any flu shot. If you were sensitive to flu vaccines in the past, your doctor may recommend that you get a flu mist vaccine instead. Keep in mind that these minor side effects are temporary and are simply the body’s natural way of fighting off the infection. If you have a severe reaction to the flu shot during pregnancy, such as a severe fever that lasts longer than 48 hours, you need to contact your doctor immediately. The same goes if you have other symptoms such as trouble breathing, or you see signs of a swollen face or neck, chest pain, or redness in your hands and feet.
- Some pregnant women report feeling dizzy or faint after getting the flu shot.
- Other side effects may include soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site, low-grade fever, and muscle aches.
- However, these side effects are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days.
- Serious side effects are rare, but if you experience any severe symptoms after getting the flu shot, you should see a doctor right away.
- Some pregnant women also report feeling nauseous, achy, or tired after getting the flu shot. These side effects are usually mild and go away within a day or two.
- There is a very small risk of contracting Guillain-Barré syndrome after getting the flu shot. This side effect is extremely rare, and most people who get the flu shot will not experience it.
Who Should Not Get a Flu Shot During Pregnancy?
Certain people are more susceptible to adverse reactions from flu vaccines. If you have certain chronic health conditions, you may be advised not to get the flu shot. Some of these include lupus, fibromyalgia, and psoriasis. If you are allergic to eggs (which is a common allergen), you may also be advised not to get a flu shot. If you have a weakened immune system, it’s crucial that you get the flu shot. If you have a chronic illness, it’s important to discuss your flu vaccination options with your doctor. Because your immune system is already weakened due to your condition, the flu shot is even more important for you.
Benefits of the Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy
Aside from boosting your immune system, flu vaccinations during pregnancy also provide tremendous benefits to the unborn child. It’s important to note that the flu shot is not 100 percent effective. Therefore, it’s important to get vaccinated every year. Flu vaccines are made from virus strains that are predicted to be most common during the upcoming flu season. Since the virus changes each year, you need to get vaccinated each year. You can get the flu shot anytime during the flu season, even if you already have the flu. Many people get vaccinated during their first trimester since it’s one of the first things they schedule once they find out they’re pregnant.
The flu shot is highly beneficial during pregnancy since it protects both the mother and the baby from contracting the flu. Getting a flu shot every year during pregnancy is important because the virus changes each year. If you are pregnant, don’t let the flu scare you. Getting a flu vaccine every year will help reduce your risk of getting the flu. In addition, it will also lower the risk of life-threatening complications such as pneumonia, preterm labor, and hospitalization. You can also take preventive measures such as keeping your hands clean, avoiding people who are sick, and getting plenty of rest. If you do get the flu, there are many effective ways to treat it. You can also take steps to protect yourself and your child from contracting the flu.