Influenza Vaccine in Pregnancy

Influenza in pregnancy is serious

Changes in your immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy mean that influenza can affect you more seriously. Pregnant women with influenza are at a greater risk for hospitalization and death than non-pregnant women. This in turn can affect the fetus because a serious illness increases the risk for premature labor and delivery.

The Influenza vaccine is the best protection

An influenza vaccine is the best protection for you and your unborn baby. Once you receive the vaccine your body starts producing antibodies that can protect your baby for up to six months after birth. And breastfeeding moms can also pass the antibodies on in breast milk.

The Influenza vaccine is safe

Influenza vaccines have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies and it is perfectly safe to get the influenza vaccine at any time during pregnancy. It does take up to 14 days to produce the antibodies after you’ve received the shot.

The Influenza vaccine is for everyone

Because flu spreads from person to person, and because babies younger than six months are too young for the influenza vaccine, it is important for you and others who may be in contact with your baby to get the vaccine.

Are there side effects of the Influenza vaccine?

There may be some side effects from the influenza vaccine. You might experience some soreness, tenderness, redness or swelling in the location of the vaccine. You might also have aches and pains, fever or nausea and feel tired.

When to call your doctor

If you are pregnant and have flu symptoms, call your doctor, even if you have received the influenza vaccine. Symptoms include:

  • Fever, cough, sore throat, headache, body aches, congestion, vomiting and diarrhea

Call 911 if you have any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, dizziness or confusion, severe vomiting, decreased or no baby movement or a high fever that does not respond to TylenolR.