Less than 50% of pregnant American women follow federal health recommendations to get vaccinated for the flu. There is a lot of misinformation out there about vaccines in general, and the fact is that many women are just worried about how the flu vaccine might affect their baby.
A great number of organisations in the know strongly recommend the flu shot for pregnant women. This includes the British National Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and many others.
The experts agree – not only is it safe to get the flu jab – it could save your baby’s life.
Here are 8 facts you should know about getting the flu vaccine.
1. The vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses, so it can’t cause flu. Some people get a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards, and you may feel a bit sore at the injection site.
2. Studies have shown that the flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy.
3. Flu vaccines have not been shown to cause harm or carry any risks to pregnant women or their babies.
4. Pregnant women have a higher risk of for serious complications from influenza than non-pregnant women of reproductive age. One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis and a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia.
5. The Influenza vaccine will protect pregnant women and their unborn baby, before AND after birth.
6. Breastfeeding is fully compatible with receiving the flu vaccine.
7. Preventing the flu in mothers can reduce the chance that the infant will get the flu. This is especially important for infants younger than 6 months old – since they are too young to be vaccinated.
8. You’ll need a flu shot even if you’ve had one in previous years because different strains of flu come around every year.
Your doctor is, as always, in the best position to address any concerns you may have about protecting yourself against the flu, so have the conversation if you have any concerns about being immunized.