Many women ask whether flu shots are safe or not during pregnancy and want to ensure that their baby is not at any risk.
Pregnancy puts extra stress on your heart and lungs and can also affect the immune system. In this case, flu shots are not only safe, they are highly recommended by Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Paediatrics and many other medical organizations. This is due to the fact that the influenza virus, if caught during pregnancy, can lead to several serious complications such as preterm labour, low birth weight, miscarriage and pneumonia can happen.
In addition to that, researchers have shown that babies whose moms are vaccinated against flu during their pregnancy are less likely to catch this virus. Moreover, these babies are comparatively healthier.
Additionally, it is a well known fact that babies are at high risk of complications from the flu. However, childhood flu vaccines cannot begin until the baby is 6 months old. So if the mother is vaccinated against flu during pregnancy, the developed antibodies will pass on to the baby, protecting him from flu even after his birth.
The best time for the flu shot is September or October, before the beginning of the flu season. However, you can get vaccinated at any time after that as the flu season lasts till May. When you are getting vaccinated, make sure that you get a flu shot and not a nasal spray vaccine. The flu shots are made from dead influenza virus whereas the nasal spray constitutes of the live (weakened) virus, so the shot is considered to be safer and can be taken at any point during pregnancy.
As a mom-to-be, your biggest concern is a safe pregnancy and flu shots, to some extent, can ensure that you have one!