What can you read in this article?
- Benefits of flu vaccine for pregnant women
- Why are pregnant women advised to have the flu vaccine?
- Are there any flu shot side effects when you’re pregnant?
Are you worried to receive a flu vaccination because of your pregnancy? Worry no more! Flu vaccination is safe during pregnancy. Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women over several decades with a good safety record.
Dr. Kris Lodrono Lim a Medical Affairs manager for vaccines at GSK Philippines stated on the GSK Flu webinar on theAsianparent Philippines Facebook page that pregnant women are advised to get a vaccination for flu for their baby’s safety.
Changes in a woman’s immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make a pregnant woman especially susceptible to serious illness if she were to get the flu; complications, hospitalization, and even death can occur. The flu also can increase the likelihood of pregnancy complications, such as premature labor and delivery.
When we talk about the safety of medications for pregnant women, we’re actually considering two separate things: safety for the mom and safety for the baby.
Many times, medications that women take routinely before or after pregnancy aren’t recommended during pregnancy because we just don’t have enough scientific data to show that the medication is safe for the baby.
It is safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that all women who are pregnant during flu season get a flu shot, regardless of their trimester.
Benefits of flu vaccine for pregnant women
Here are the benefits of the flu vaccine for pregnant women that you need to know.
1. Prevent the flu and maternal complications
The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Research has shown that getting a flu shot decreases a pregnant women’s risk of being hospitalized by an average of 40%.
2. Prevent potential fetal health problems due to the flu.
Having a fever caused by the flu early in pregnancy might increase the risk of fetal birth defects.
3. Protect your baby after birth
Infants are at increased risk of severe flu symptoms, but the flu vaccine can’t be given until a baby is 6 months old. If you have a flu shot during pregnancy, the antibodies you develop will pass through the placenta and, if you’re breastfeeding, breast milk. These antibodies help protect your baby from the flu after birth.
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Why are pregnant women at higher risk for serious flu illness?
You’ve probably heard that the flu can be dangerous for older people, infants, and people with health conditions. But you may not know that pregnant women are also at higher risk for complications like pneumonia. Why? Because changes to your body make it easier for you to get sick.
Even if you feel healthy and strong while pregnant, pregnancy affects your immune system, heart, and lungs. This can make you more susceptible to the flu and can put you at higher risk of more serious illness.
In addition to getting a flu shot, you can take extra steps to stay as healthy as possible, including Washing your hands regularly, covering your cough, and keeping your immune system strong by getting enough sleep, eating well, and practicing good health habits.
Antiviral drugs can treat flu illness and are recommended for pregnant women who are sick with flu.
- When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time your patients are sick. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia.
- During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, prompt antiviral treatment of hospitalized pregnant women was shown to prevent respiratory failure and death.
- Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be beneficial, especially for patients who are at high risk for flu complications such as pregnant women.
Why are pregnant women advised to have the flu vaccine?
If you have flu while you’re pregnant, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely or have a low birth weight, and may even lead to stillbirth or death.
The flu shot won’t protect you from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But getting a flu vaccine is especially important this season because the flu and the COVID-19 have similar signs and symptoms.
Flu vaccination could reduce symptoms that might be confused with COVID-19. Preventing the flu and reducing the severity of flu illness and hospitalizations could also lessen the stress on the health care system.
When you get vaccinated, request the flu shot — not the nasal spray vaccine. The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus, so it’s safe for both mother and baby during any stage of pregnancy. The nasal spray vaccine isn’t recommended for use in pregnant women.
Are there any flu shot side effects when you’re pregnant?
Some people experience some mild side effects after getting a flu shot, pregnant or not. The most common side effects are muscle soreness, tenderness, and swelling around the injection site. But some people might experience a mild fever, muscle aches or a slight headache.
If you have any severe, life-threatening allergies or you’ve had an allergic reaction to a previous immunization, talk with a doctor about your vaccination options. For example, egg-free flu shots are available for those with egg allergies.
Did You Know…
Breastfeeding moms who have past experiences of having the flu is actually beneficial for the baby. According to Dr. Kris Lodrono Lim a Medical Affairs manager for vaccines at GSK Philippines, it is beneficial because mothers who have past engagement on the flu virus developed numerous antibodies and these antibodies can be given to their babies during breastfeeding. Ironic right?
But what’s more surprising is babies under 6 months old are still not allowed to get a vaccination so their mothers can do it for them by giving the developed antibodies to their babies during a breastfeeding session.
Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect you and your baby. Making time to get your flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.
When you get vaccinated, you reduce your risk and your baby’s risk of complications from the flu. If you have concerns about the flu shot during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.
CDC.GOV, healthpartners, GSK Flu Webinar
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. TheAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.