Are you pregnant? Or is your partner or spouse pregnant? A big congratulations on your new blessing! It is indeed pure bliss to know that you are growing a person in your womb. As much as we would like to tell you that your journey to parenthood is all rainbows and clear skies, limitations and restrictions suck out the fun sometimes. You and your partner should then educate and encourage one another to know the dos and don’ts while pregnant.
One of the things parents-to-be and expecting couples are often worried about is medicines and vaccines and if they are safe for the embryo. For instance, can an expecting mother get a flu shot while pregnant? You know the pros and cons of the flu shot, but are they the same during your pregnancy?
Getting a Flu Shot while Pregnant
The main questions one can have when it comes to the flu vaccine deal with its safety and its effect you one’s immune system. Even regular healthy people request some assurance that their flu shot would not cause any side effect. So, you can definitely understand why pregnant women hesitate in getting their flu shot during the perinatal period. But can they really get it?
The answer is a confident and resounding Yes. Flu shots have been administered to millions of pregnant women all over the world, and the feedback we got came with a good safety record. There is an extensive amount of scientific research and studies that promote the safety of flu shots in pregnant women and their babies.
Whether your pregnancy is on the early stages or your expected date of delivery is just around the corner, getting a flu shot has never appeared as an issue.
Why Should a Pregnant Woman Get a Flu Shot while Pregnant?
The issue of questioning the safety and efficacy of flu vaccine to pregnant women hindered many expecting mothers from getting the vaccine while carrying their child. It is common knowledge that restrictions and limitations with drug intake and administration get strict during pregnancy. Drinking most over-the-counter medications while pregnant remains questionable, unless your doctor approves of it. The same hesitation goes when getting the flu shot, even if it means boosting the immune system against flu.
But why do doctors encourage everyone, even pregnant women, to get their flu vaccine? What can you get when you receive your flu shot while pregnant? Your doctor’s simple answer to that has to do with the effects of having flu while pregnant.
Studies and clinical research prove that expecting mothers have a higher risk of developing complications if they contract the influenza virus, specifically during the last trimester of pregnancy. Your immune system gets compromised because of your hormonal imbalances.
Bronchitis, one of the usual major complications of flu, is a known lung disease that can lead to a more severe respiratory problem like pneumonia.
If you do not get your flu shot, and you contract the virus while pregnant, it could affect your baby, leading to premature birth with low birth weight. Or worse, the flu virus may even cause stillbirth or fetal death due to the complications.
When should I Get my Flu Shot while Pregnant?
Depending on your location in the map, what doctors follow when administering flu vaccines to patients rely on the specific flu season. For tropical countries with dry and wet season, it is best to get the flu shot before summer ends. The flu virus is not a fan of humidity, so doctors expect lesser cases during the rainy season. But, it still depends on the strength of your immune system and the protection your body has against the virus. Make sure that you get vaccinated before the humidity drops.
In countries enjoying four seasons, you better get vaccinated before fall ends. Winter is flu season, so get protected as soon as possible.
How often Should I Get a Flu Shot?
A short and sweet answer: Ideally, you have to get vaccinated every year. Yes! You have to have your flu shot annually. Should you ask why? Well, the reason behind the annual vaccination comes from the quick mutation and advancement of the flu virus. Every year, new strains and substrains of the influenza virus appear after a season of the disease ends. Your immune system may not handle the new strains so you should get the shot.
So, you can expect that the flu shot that gets administered this year has a different mixture of antibodies compared to last year’s.
What will I Feel after Getting the Flu Shot while Pregnant?
The complaints vary from person to person. But one fact remains: the flu shot will not cause you to have a flu. Why are we sure? Because the vaccine does not contain live viruses. You may feel feverish, weak, or sleepy after, but those complaints remain the same, whether you are pregnant or not. Many patients also mentioned tenderness around the injection site. So, if you have the same complaint, use a cold compress to ease the pain and swelling.
Can Flu Shot cause Miscarriage?
Every childbearing journey is precious, so a pregnant woman should make sure that she and her offspring get the best care. There are doubts and reservations surrounding flu vaccination during pregnancy. Many claim that the flu shot can cause detrimental effects to the child, like congenital anomalies and miscarriage.
We are not here to rule out the entire possibility of a pregnant woman having a miscarriage after her flu vaccination. What we can only state remains based on the fact that multiple studies backed up the safety and efficacy of the flu vaccine for pregnant women. These studies did not mention a higher risk for miscarriage among those who gets the vaccine.
What we can firmly say to our readers is the fact that we should take extra care during our pregnancy, with or without the need to have the flu shot. If you need more information about your flu vaccine, where and when to get it, talk to your primary care physician so he can guide you and answer all your questions concerning this vaccine.