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Written by Dr. Nao Nakatsuka

Flu shots are safe and highly recommended for pregnant women

20/10/2014 10:48:30 AM | 0 comments |

 
Getting your flu shot at any stage of your pregnancy is safe and highly recommended, as pregnant women are at increased risk of developing a serious illness as a result of contracting the flu. This is not just my personal opinion; it is also my professional opinion.

I am 32 weeks pregnant with my first child, and I have been very fortunate to have had a healthy pregnancy. But being a healthy person with an uncomplicated pregnancy does not mean that I will not get the flu this winter, or only have mild symptoms should I contract the flu.

The flu shot reduces the risk of contracting the flu, which is especially relevant for pregnant women as they are at risk of developing serious illness and complications from the flu, with death as a rare but most catastrophic possibility. As an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Royal Columbian Hospital, I saw patients last year who were pregnant who fell critically ill and had to be hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit for a long period of time. It was very frightening for everyone involved.

Flu shots are also beneficial for babies. As babies cannot get their flu shots until they are 6 months old, a flu shot received by their mothers, especially in late pregnancy, provides cross-over protection for babies who are born during the flu season when they are most at risk of serious disease.

Like all pregnant women, I want to be my healthiest self for my baby. This includes eating well, exercising, resting, and getting the flu shot.
 
I know that some women may worry that getting the flu shot during pregnancy could pose a risk to their baby. But numerous safety studies of the flu vaccine involving thousands of pregnant women have shown no evidence of harm to pregnant women or to their babies, regardless of the trimester in which the vaccine was received. In short, it’s much safer to get vaccinated than to get the flu.

Getting my flu shot not only provides me with protection against a serious illness, but it also provides better outcomes for my baby as it reduces the risk of being born premature, having a low birth weight, or resulting in fetal death.

Of course, it takes two to make a healthy baby, so my husband will also receive his flu shot. It is important for all household members to also get the flu shots to reduce the risk for mothers and their babies!

Flu shots are available FREE for pregnant women from:
  • Your doctor
  • Pharmacy
  • Walk-in clinic
For more information, visit fraserhealth.ca/flushot
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