The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages every pregnant woman to protect herself against flu season by getting the flu shot. Influenza comes with severe complications which increases the risk of hospitalization and could even result in death. Getting the flu shot during the last trimester of pregnancy protects your unborn child, too, making it an option for you to consider.
How the Flu Shot Benefits You
Rather than hide away in your home for the nine months that you’re pregnant, getting a flu shot allows you to be out in public without fear of becoming ill. The influenza has been particularly nasty this year, leading to many deaths. The flu shot protects against serious complications such as pneumonia.
Even if you were to get the flu, the shot helps reduce the symptoms you experience. That means that you’re less sick than you would be had you not been vaccinated. It’s a precautionary measure that many women believe in taking while pregnant.
How the Flu Shot Benefits Your Baby
Babies under six months old don’t get the flu shot themselves. Their mothers get it while they’re pregnant or first breastfeeding. Babies that aren’t protected from the flu are often born prematurely.
Infants that have been vaccinated are often bigger and healthier. They’re less likely to be hospitalized with the flu during their first months of life. Stillbirth deaths are fewer, too, in women who have had the flu shot while pregnant.
Where to Get the Flu Shot
If you don’t know where to get the flu shot or want to make sure that it is administered correctly, ask you OBGYN if they offer it as a service. Even if there is a high demand at your family physician’s office for the shot, you’ll be among the first to receive it because pregnant women are given top priority. You won’t be able to use the nasal spray vaccine because it hasn’t been approved to be given to women carrying a child.
When to Get the Flu Shot
You should get the vaccination as early as October because the flu season can last through May. The earlier you get it, the better protected you are. Because the shot changes each year depending on the strain of flu that is the most severe. You’ll want to make sure you schedule regular vaccinations even if you were given the flu shot the year before.
Risks That Come with Getting the Flu Shot
Although some people claim that the flu shot gives children autism, there is no data proving the legitimacy of this. Flu shots are meant to protect not harm children. Still, they’re not 100% effective, so there is a small risk in getting one.
Pregnant women should be aware of the benefits and risks that come with getting the flu shot while pregnant. If you believe the reward outweighs the risk and agree with the CDC, schedule a time to get the flu shot during your pregnancy. If you’ve already delivered and are breastfeeding, you can still be vaccinated against influenza without worry that it will harm your baby.