As compared to healthy women who are not pregnant, severe illness is more likely to be caused due to flu in pregnant women. This is because of certain changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy, that may also result in hospitalization. According to the studies, vaccination can also protect the baby from flu after the birth. The flu shot can be given to the pregnant women during any trimester however, it is not recommended to use the nasal spray vaccine in pregnant women.
A Guide for Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy and Nursing
Is getting a flu shot safe for pregnant women and their developing babies?
Definitely! There have been good safety records of flu shots that have been given to millions of pregnant women, over many years. You can get a number of scientific studies which prove the safety of flu shots in pregnant women.
Side effects of flu shots experienced by pregnant women
The side effects of flu shots experienced by pregnant women are the same as those experienced by other people. Given below are a few of these side effects:
One is likely to experience the side effects soon after the flu shot has been given. This generally lasts for 1-2 days. Although rare, but flu shots can lead to some serious conditions, including allergic reactions etc. So, it should be kept in mind that anyone who is allergic to any of the vaccine ingredients, should not be given the shot.
Monitoring the safety of flu vaccines in pregnant women
The ongoing safety monitoring of vaccines that have been licensed for use in the United States are conducted by CDC and FDA. CDA and FDA use the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to monitor the flu vaccine safety during pregnancy. What is VAERS? This acts as an early warning system that helps to monitor the health concerns after the vaccination. One thing that VAERS reports cannot determine is the health concern after the vaccination as caused mainly due to the vaccine. However, one thing that can be indicated using these reports is if the need for further investigation is required or not.
Can one catch the flu from the flu vaccine?
Well, there is absolutely no chance of catching the flu from the flu vaccine as these shots do not contain the live virus which is responsible for its cause. In this case, inactivated vaccine is used, that contains fragments of killed influenza virus. This will further help to stimulate the body to produce antibodies which will protect you from the live version if you have been exposed to the same. But in the vaccine, the influenza virus is dead and thus cannot infect you in any case.
Is it safe for the pregnant women with egg allergies to get vaccinated?
Additional safety measures may be required, but most of the people who have an allergy to eggs can get vaccinated. In case, a person has a life-threatening allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients (including egg protein), is recommended to not get the shot. Therefore, it is advised that the pregnant women should before hand tell her doctor or the person giving the shots about any severe allergies she has ever had in her lifetime following a flu shot.
However, people who are allergic to eggs are not required to be monitored for longer than 30 minutes after the vaccine. Those who have severe allergy to eggs should be vaccinated under special considered medical settings. Also, a health care provider should supervise them in order to manage any severe allergic reactions that are likely to occur.
Is it safe for a breastfeeding woman to get a flu vaccine?
Yes, in order to protect themselves form flu, breastfeeding women should get the flu vaccine. This will in turn reduce the risk of them getting sick and will also prevent the flu from passing on to the baby. This is vital for children younger than 6 months because they are way too young to get the influenza vaccine themselves.
Where should you get vaccinated?
Well, there are plenty of options for a pregnant woman to receive the flu shot. This includes a store, a supermarket, a health care provider’s office or at work. You can get licensed flu vaccines at all of these places and also those that are approved for use. But there arises no reason of getting the shot at any of these places in case you have never had problem in previously receive the vaccine.
After having discussed the following points, it is advised to be aware and let your health care provider know about any of the vaccine components that you are allergic to. Apart from that, getting the shots during pregnancy is completely safe, both for pregnant as well as breastfeeding women. This will not only protect you but also your little one from getting sick.