Flu Shots and Pregnancy

With increased discussion of vaccination in the last few years, you might wonder about what vaccines to get and if they’re safe to receive while pregnant. There is strong evidence that a flu shot can be safely given during any trimester of pregnancy. A flu shot during pregnancy also has specific benefits for both you and your baby.

Why It Matters

  • Influenza is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant and postpartum patients than in those who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make people more vulnerable to severe illness from influenza.
  • Vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by about one-half.
  • Vaccination can prevent potential fetal health problems due to the flu. Having a fever caused by the flu early in pregnancy might increase the risk of birth defects and other health problems for the baby.
  • Vaccination can protect babies after birth. Infants are at increased risk of severe flu symptoms, but a flu vaccine can’t be given until a baby is six months old. The antibodies you develop from a flu shot during pregnancy pass through the placenta, as well as breast milk if you’re breastfeeding. These antibodies help protect your baby from the flu before they can be vaccinated.

Type of Flu Shot

It is important that you get the flu shot as a vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray vaccine. The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus, so it’s safe for both you and your baby during any stage of pregnancy. The nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for use during pregnancy.

When to Get Vaccinated

If you’re pregnant, you should get the flu vaccine as soon as possible. Flu season can be very unpredictable and varies from year to year. Although the exact timing and duration of flu seasons varies, flu activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May.

If you have concerns about the flu shot during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, please call (619) 413-0001 or fill out the form below.