Influenza Vaccine

Should a pregnant woman get a flu shot? In short, the answer is almost always yes!

Influenza is normally not a serious illness. Typically the flu is a 5-10 long illness with fevers, chills, muscle aches, weakness and upper respiratory symptoms. People feel pretty sick, but they get better, and rarely does the flu lead to anything very serious. But, the key word is rarely! Although normal healthy adults rarely develop serious complications from the flu, the same cannot be said for pregnant women.

Here is what the CDC says about Influenza and Pregnancy:

(reference: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/pregnant.htm)

1. The Flu Shot is the Best Protection Against Flu

Getting a flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting against flu. The flu shot given during pregnancy has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby (up to 6 months old) from flu. (The nasal spray vaccine should not be given to women who are pregnant.)

2. The Flu Shot is Safe for Pregnant Women

Flu shots are a safe way to protect the mother and her unborn child from serious illness and complications of flu. 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.

3. Early Treatment is Important for Pregnant Women

If you get sick with flu-like symptoms call your doctor right away. If needed, the doctor will prescribe an antiviral medicine that treats the flu. Having a high fever caused by flu infection or other infections early in pregnancy can lead to birth defects in an unborn child. Pregnant women who get a fever should treat their fever with Tylenol® (or store brand equivalent) and contact their doctor as soon as possible.

4. When to Seek Emergency Medical Care (If you have any of these signs, call 911 right away):

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • High fever that is not responding to Tylenol┬« (or store brand equivalent) 
  • Decreased or no movement of your baby