Pregnancy and the Flu Vaccine

January 8, 2008

The Influenza virus affects 20 percent of the U.S population each year and every winter, starting from late December to early March, people are encouraged to get their flu vaccines. Getting the flu shot once a year is very important. It helps lower a person's chance of getting the flu by 80 percent and reduces the symptoms of the virus. The flu shot also especially helps pregnant women who are most susceptible to the influenza virus. So, if you are pregnant, get your flu vaccine right away. What is the Flu?

Influenza also known as the flu is a virus that affects the respiratory tract. It lasts for about two or three weeks and can lead to sinus, bronchitis, ear infections and even pneumonia. So, get your flu vaccine before it is too late.

Typical Flu Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Aching muscles
  • Fatigue

Flu Vaccine in Pregnancy

The flu vaccine is not a permanent vaccine because the influenza strain changes every year. Therefore, it is necessary to get vaccinated annually if you want to be protected from the virus.

The vaccine also has a couple of side effects. They include:

  • Soreness and swelling around the area of the shot
  • Headache
  • Slight fever

The Flu Vaccine and Pregnancy

Pregnant women are most vulnerable to the influenza virus and therefore, are strongly urged to get the flu shot. Although some doctors avoid vaccinating the woman during her first trimester, it is generally thought to be safe to receive the flu shot at any point during the pregnancy.

Contracting flu during pregnancy can also cause a lot complications. Pregnant women have a greater risk of death than other individuals and they also have a greater chance of developing pneumonia and bronchitis. Flu symptoms also tend to be longer if you are pregnant. If symptoms worsen or become serious, there is also a chance of miscarriage or preterm labor. So, it is very important that a pregnant woman receives her flu shot so that she can protect herself and her unborn baby.

How you can prevent the flu in Pregnancy

To lower your chances of catching or spreading the virus:

  • Avoid large crowds
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Cover your mouth when cough or sneeze
  • Do not share cups or utensils
  • Stay at home and rest if you already have the flu
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