It is safe to receive flu shots during a pregnancy, regardless of the trimester. It has even been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Pregnancy makes women more susceptible to illness as their immune systems are dramatically affected with the internal changes occurring for child bearing. Becoming ill during such times tends to make recovery a longer and more difficult process and can even lead to unnecessary complications. Flu during a pregnancy has shown an increased risk in miscarriages, low birth weight and premature birth.
Through statistical analysis, it is proven that mothers who received flu immunization vaccinations during their pregnancy had 70% healthier babies with a reduced risk of infant illness.
How Is The Flu Shot Beneficial For Your Baby?
Antibodies or special proteins are created by the pregnant woman who receives the vaccination. These antibodies boost the bodies defense against pathogens by recognizing the flu virus. Mitch Kronenberg of the La Jolla Institute For Allergy and Immunology say, “Those antibodies can cross the placenta and go into the fetal circulation.”
This protective gift that is transferred from mother to child via the placenta is known as Passive Immunity. The mother’s body receives the instructions given to her defense system to fight against the virus while the baby’s immune system borrows those instructions.
Placental antibodies stay with the baby for the first six months of life. These antibodies are different from those received through breastfeeding. The protective antibodies found in breastmilk protect the baby from viruses that are found in the gut.
There are no studies that have proven a correlation between flu shots and complications in pregnant women but do note, all vaccines produce a risk of adverse effects like allergic reactions. If you conform to the school of thought that you wouldn’t need a vaccination that “may or may not help” since you seem to be healthy, remember that you would be compromising on the capacity of your immune system to fight against even a common flu. And as mentioned above, the health of your baby is also at stake.
Receiving the injection form of the flu vaccination is safe for both, mother and baby. The nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. Consult your healthcare provider for further advice.
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