If you’re expecting, should you get a flu shot or should you take your chances?
A flu shot is something we all know we should get, but most adults prefer to take their chances with the flu. After all, unless you are very young, very old or are struggling with a weakened immune system, the flu is uncomfortable and annoying, but it’s not overly serious. However, for pregnant women, taking a chance with the flu can be a dangerous thing, and that’s why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women get their flu shots.
How can pregnant women benefit from getting a flu shot?
It could help to prevent problems related to the flu during pregnancy.
For most people, getting the flu is no big deal. You rest for a few days, and then you’re back at it again. But, the flu could lead to complications during pregnancy. Some research even suggests that women who get the flu during their first trimester have a higher risk of fetal birth defects. Getting the flu during pregnancy has also been linked to miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth and even fetal death.
It could help to prevent severe illness.
Did you know that pregnant women are much more likely to become seriously ill because of the flu than other healthy adults? There are many possible reasons as to why pregnant women experience the flu more severely. For one, the diaphragm gets pushed up during pregnancy, so the lungs don’t have enough room to hold a full breath, and that can lead to respiratory complications. Additionally, pregnancy affects the immune system in ways scientists don’t fully understand at this point. It was previously believed that pregnancy weakened the immune system, making women more susceptible to getting infected, but a study conducted by Stanford University in 2009 found that the flu in pregnant women triggered a supercharged immune response, increasing the severity of the flu. But, regardless of why pregnant women experience the flu more severely, getting a flu shot can help to prevent it.
It could help to protect your baby after they are born.
Newborn babies have a high risk of getting the flu, but unfortunately, your baby cannot be vaccinated until they are six months old. The best way to keep your baby protected from the flu for the first six months is to get vaccinated. Your antibodies will pass to your baby through the placenta and breast milk, and they will help to prevent your baby from getting sick.
Are you due for a flu shot?
Not only is it safe for pregnant women to get the flu shot, it’s also recommended by both the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for any woman who gets pregnant during flu season to get a flu shot. So, if you’re pregnant, make sure you get your flu shot! If you have any questions or concerns about flu shots or the flu during pregnancy, contact our team of gynecologists, obstetricians and certified midwives today!