During pregnancy, several physiological changes occur in the immune system, heart and lungs making these women more prone to illness or infections. Contracting flu during pregnancy raises risk of complications such as premature labour and delivery, and a flu vaccine can reduce that risk. Vaccinating the mother also protects the baby from flu for several months after birth as the antibodies are passed onto through the placenta
When to take the vaccine?
CDC recommends that pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester of their pregnancy to protect themselves and their newborn babies from flu. The nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for use in pregnant women
Side effects and safety of flu shots
Mild side effects may be observed similar to those in common population but they are found to be absolutely safe:
- Soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot
- Muscle aches
If side effects occur, they usually begin soon after the shot is given and generally last for 1-2 days.
Women with allergies to certain compounds should be careful while taking the vaccine. Annual flu vaccine must be taken by all including expecting fathers. We realize the importance of the taking vaccine only once we contract an infection during the flu season but then it is too late. For pregnant women, it is not worth taking the risk as any illness can add to the physical and mental stress of pregnancy.
Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.