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Flu shot in pregnancy: Is it safe?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/influenza/AN00651
- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
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Flu shot in pregnancy: Is it safe?
Is it safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
Yes, it's safe to get an influenza (flu) shot during pregnancy.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu shot for anyone who's pregnant during flu season — typically early October through late March.
Pregnancy puts extra stress on your heart and lungs. Pregnancy can also affect your immune system. These factors increase the risk of getting the flu during pregnancy, as well as developing serious complications of the flu — such as pneumonia and difficulty breathing.
Flu during pregnancy also seems to increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight.
A flu shot can help prevent these potential problems. Better yet, a flu shot during pregnancy helps protect your baby after birth.
Infants are at high risk of complications from the flu, but childhood flu vaccines can't begin until a baby is 6 months old. If you have a flu shot during pregnancy, however, the antibodies you develop will pass through the placenta to help protect your baby from the flu.
In a 2011 study, babies whose mothers had a flu shot during pregnancy were nearly 50 percent less likely to be diagnosed with the flu during their first flu season than were babies whose mothers didn't have a flu shot during pregnancy.
When you get your flu shot, be sure to request the flu shot and not the nasal spray vaccine. The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus, so it's safe for both mother and baby during any stage of pregnancy. The nasal spray vaccine is made from a live virus, which makes it less appropriate during pregnancy or while you're trying to conceive.
If you're allergic to eggs, check with your doctor before receiving a flu shot. Some flu vaccines contain tiny amounts of egg proteins. You might need to take special precautions, such as waiting in the doctor's office for at least 30 minutes after vaccination in case of a reaction. There's also a flu vaccine that doesn't contain egg proteins, approved for use in adults age 18 and older.
Also check with your doctor if you had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine. Although the vaccine isn't recommended for anyone who had a severe reaction in the past, some reactions might not be related to the vaccine.
The flu shot available during the 2012-2013 flu season offers protection from both H1N1 flu (swine flu) and seasonal flu.Next question
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- Jamieson DJ, et al. Influenza and pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 30, 2012.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Prevention and control of influenza with vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011. MMWR. 2011;60:1128.
- Guidelines for vaccinating pregnant women. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/preg-guide.htm#flu1. Accessed May 31, 2012.
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- Pasternak B, et al. Vaccination against pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza in pregnancy and risk of fetal death: Cohort study in Denmark. BMJ. 2012;344:e2794.
- Sheffield JS, et al. Effect of influenza vaccination in the first trimester of pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2012;120:532.
- FDA approves first seasonal influenza vaccine manufactured using cell culture technology. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm328982.htm. Accessed Nov. 20, 2012.