Is the flu vaccine safe for pregnant people?
With flu season officially here, we want to remind our patients that receiving the influenza vaccine (“flu shot”) while pregnant protects both you and your baby. There is a lot of misinformation around vaccines, so we’ve created this guide to the benefits of the flu vaccine for pregnant people, the studies showing its safety, and answers to some common questions.
Is the Flu Shot Safe While Pregnant?
Yes. Millions of pregnant patients have safely received a flu vaccine over the years. Studies have demonstrated significant evidence that the flu vaccine is safe to get while pregnant and have also found no increased risk for complications, miscarriage, or birth defects for pregnant people who receive the flu shot.
Based on this overwhelming evidence for the vaccine’s safety, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) all recommend that pregnant people receive the flu vaccine.
Benefits of the Flu Shot During Pregnancy
Pregnant people and infants have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they get the flu virus. The flu vaccine lowers your risk of serious illness or hospitalization. Getting the flu shot while pregnant also passes your antibodies on to your baby. This helps protect them after their birth until they can get their own vaccine.
What Kind of Vaccine Can I Get?
Pregnant people should receive an inactivated flu vaccine shot. This means the vaccine does not contain any live flu virus. Pregnant people should not receive the nasal spray, which does use live virus.
There are many different types of flu shots. Pregnant people can get any flu shot that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health status. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about which flu vaccine to get, or allergies to any vaccine ingredients.
When Should I Get the Flu Vaccine?
It is safe to get the flu vaccine during any trimester. The earlier you get the flu shot while pregnant, the sooner it can lower your risk of serious illness. Flu season runs from October to May. Generally, the CDC recommends getting your flu shot in September or October to provide the maximum protection. If you will be in your third trimester in July or August, talk to your doctor about getting your vaccine then, so you can pass on antibodies to your baby.
If you haven’t received your flu vaccine yet, though, remember – it’s never too late to get protected. Pregnant people can receive the flu shot through their OB/GYN, primary care physician, or at a local pharmacy.
Should I Get the Flu Vaccine If I’m Going Through Fertility Treatments?
We follow the guidance of leading medical organizations and recommend that all our patients receive the flu vaccine. Out of the many studies on the flu vaccine, fertility, and pregnancy, none have shown any increased risk or complications from the vaccine. If you have a successful treatment cycle and become pregnant, the vaccine lowers your risk of serious illness or hospitalization. The vaccine also lowers your chances of getting sick with the flu, which can interrupt or delay your fertility treatment.
The Flu Vaccine Is Safe and Effective During Pregnancy
Navigating the sea of recommendations around pregnancy can be overwhelming, so we’re grateful for the many clear studies demonstrating that the flu vaccine is safe and effective for our pregnant patients. Getting the flu shot while pregnant is the most important step you can take to avoid becoming sick with the flu and risking serious illness. If you have any questions about vaccines and pregnancy, reach out to us today.