Flu Shot During Pregnancy – Is it Safe?

5 min read

Written by Rathnavalli Pradeep

Rathnavalli Pradeep

Rathna has been with Being The Parent since the very beginning. Her immense passion to learn new aspects of  parenting and a vision to help prospective and new mothers is what drives her.

Flu Shot during pregnancy

The thought of having a new family member in the coming couple of months gives you an amazing feeling. Though being pregnant brings a lot of happiness to you and your near and dear ones, it is undoubtedly a delicate time as well. Due to several hormonal changes, your body behaves in a different way and becomes more susceptible to diseases like the flu, which increases the risk of having serious complications during pregnancy. Many doctors recommend flu shot during pregnancy to keep you safe from contracting this condition.

During pregnancy, it is always better to take precautionary actions. Taking a flu shot is a smart step to boost your immunity and save you and your unborn baby from probable complications. But there might be a bunch of questions in your mind like is it safe to take the vaccine during pregnancy? Are there any side effects? Where to get the flu shots and when? And more. Stay with us, this article will walk you through the answers to all such questions.

In This Article

Is it Safe to Get a Flu Shot During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, several changes happen in the hormone system which initiates changes in the immune system, heart, lungs of the would-be mother and these make her prone to severe illness. As per the study of CDC and several other health organizations, it is safe to take flu shots while you are pregnant. In the last couple of decades, millions of women have taken flu vaccines during their pregnancy with good results. Vaccines will help you to create antibodies in your body which you will pass on to your child.

Side Effects of the Flu Shot in Pregnant Women

pregnant women having headache

There are no major side effects of flu shots on pregnant women. You can only observe some common and mild side effects that may start just after you take the flu shot and can last for a day or two.

There may be some common issues including

  • Little swelling and redness on the specific area where the doctor injects the vaccine
  • Mild headache
  • Minor muscle ache
  • Mild fever and nausea
  • Little chance of fainting

Like all other vaccines, there is a chance of an allergic reaction, but it is rare. Some of such allergic symptoms include

  • Problem in breathing
  • Hoarseness or wheezing
  • Hive
  • Paleness
  • Weakness and dizziness
  • Faster heartbeat

You may observe any of these symptoms after a few minutes to some hours of the flu shot. It is recommended to see your doctor if you face any serious reaction.

Where to Get a Flu Shot During Pregnancy?

Nowadays this vaccine is quite common and available at hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. You can take this flu shot at any nearby hospital or clinic. As per the rules of the government, pregnant women are at the top priority for getting any kind of vaccine. You can directly head to the front of the line and no need to wait. Always speak with your gynecologist first to make sure that the flu shot is right for you. Since they are monitoring you through your pregnancy, they know your body well and will be the best person to advise you.

When to Get a Flu Shot During Pregnancy?

flue shots

Flu is a seasonal disease and comes with a general cough and cold. During the winter season from October to March, there is a high chance of seasonal flu. Therefore, it is always better to get the flu shot early in the season. But anytime is the best time to take the flu shot. So, if you have not received the vaccine yet, go and get it now. Moreover, these flu shots have a stipulated timeline, and you must take the shots again after the time is over. And you must consult your doctor before you take the vaccine.

Protecting Yourself and Your Unborn Child From the Flu

pregnant women using hand sanitizers

Seasonal flu is common and the best way to reduce the risk and serious complications from this is to take vaccines at recommended times. We all know that it is better to find ways to prevent diseases than to take action after being affected, especially when you are pregnant. There are several good healthy habits to protect yourself and your unborn from the flu.

Here are some useful health practices you should maintain during your pregnancy.

  • Avoid coming in close contact with people who are sick. Maintain a safe distance and use a mask.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you are sneezing.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and sanitizers to avoid spreading germs. Use sanitizers and alcohol-based hand rubs to clean your hands. This helps to kill germs and bacteria. In case you are coming back from any public place, this step is a must.
  • Carry a good quality hand sanitizer whenever you are planning to visit outside.
  • Germs can get into your boy through your nose, mouth, and eyes. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes before you clean your hand with soap or disinfectant.
  • Stay at home whenever you feel sick and take proper rest
  • Clean and disinfect the touched surfaces frequently with proper disinfectants at home, workplace, school. You need to be more cautious if someone around you is ill.

When to Seek Doctor’s Help For a Seasonal Flu?

Seasonal flu is common and not usually an emergency. But depending on the severity, you should consider emergency care, especially for pregnant women. Here are some of the cases where you should act fast and immediately consider meeting your doctor.

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest and abdomen
  • Sudden or frequent dizziness
  • Severe vomiting
  • Some serious after-vaccine allergic reactions return after getting better

Flu shots provide great protection against the seasonal flu and have no side effects. And when you are pregnant, it is not a good idea to get into any risks. Flu shots can save you from severe critical complications caused by the influenza virus. Some mild side effects are quite common, but the vaccine can save you and your unborn from possible complications and help you to enjoy a happy pregnancy.

FAQ’s

1. Does the Flu Shot Have Mercury in it?

There are very few multi-dose flu vaccines with a very little amount of thimerosal, which is an ethyl mercury-based preservative in those multi-dose vials. But no reports or evidence proves that these vaccines cause any harm. Only minor swelling and redness happens at the place where the vaccine is injected.

2. If I Have the Flu, What Should I do?

You need to take proper precautions not to infect others. Always close your nose and mouth with tissue paper or handkerchiefs while sneezing. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes as much as possible as germs can enter your body through these ways. Flu makes your body weak. It is always better to take proper rest and have nutrient-rich food to gain strength. Staying hydrated is equally important. Lastly, consult your doctor and take the necessary medicines.

3. Is there Any Danger of Catching the Flu From the Flu Vaccine?

There is no chance of catching the flu from the flu vaccine. These flu shots do not contain any live virus and thus are completely safe. There are fragments of killed virus in the flu shots which boosts the production of antibodies in your body that fights against the influenza virus.

Read Also: Why and When Is the Tetanus Toxoid (TT) Vaccine Given During Pregnancy?

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Rathnavalli Pradeep,BE in Computer Science from Bharathidasan university, Tirucharapalli.

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