If you’ll be pregnant during flu season, then it’s important to make sure you get a flu vaccine as soon as it’s available, unless your doctor tells you not to. During pregnancy, you’ll need to have the shot, rather than the nasal spray, which contains a live virus and could be harmful to your baby.
Why is the flu shot so important during pregnancy?
Really, everyone should get a flu vaccine every year unless they have a medical reason not to. The flu can cause deadly complications, so it’s best to protect yourself. But, when you’re pregnant, it’s even more important to be vaccinated.
Because your immune system is working differently than usual, you have a higher risk of serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia. And, if you get the flu, you have a greater risk of complications with your pregnancy, such as:
• Preterm labor
• Preterm birth
• Birth defects in your baby
• Pregnancy loss
Other ways to prevent flu
Because no vaccine is 100 percent effective, it’s important to protect yourself from the flu virus in other ways, too. These tips can help:
• Stay away from crowds, especially crowds of children, during flu season.
• Keep your distance from anyone who has flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, running nose, body aches).
• Wash your hands often, and carry hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content for times when you don’t have access to soap and water.
• Use disinfecting wipes on items you use often (and that other people touch), like phones, computer keyboard and mouse, doorknobs, etc.