I'm Pregnant. Should I Get a Flu Shot?

I'm Pregnant. Should I Get a Flu Shot?

I just found out that I'm 6 weeks pregnant. Do I need to get the flu vaccine or will it affect my pregnancy?
- Eliza*

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu vaccine for all women who are pregnant — and for those who are considering pregnancy, who have recently given birth, or who are breastfeeding during flu season.

Pregnancy leads to changes in a woman's body. The immune system becomes a bit weaker. That makes it easier for pregnant women to catch whatever bug is going around. In addition, changes in how the heart and lungs work during pregnancy make it more likely that the flu will develop into a more serious problem, like pneumonia.

Although the flu vaccine comes in both shot and nasal spray form, you'll need to get the shot. The nasal spray is not recommended for pregnant women. Studies have shown that the shot is safe during pregnancy.

If you develop flu-like symptoms before or after you've been vaccinated, call your doctor right away. Pregnant women who catch the flu may need to take antiviral medicine to decrease the chances of developing complications.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





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Related Resources
Web SiteH1N1 (Swine) Flu Website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC's site has up-to-date information on H1N1 (swine) flu outbreaks, symptoms, prevention, and more.
OrganizationMaternal and Child Health Bureau This U.S. government agency is charged with promoting and improving the health of mothers and children.
OrganizationAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.
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