Even with the intensive public campaigns carried out by the public and private sectors in emphasizing the importance of seasonal flu vaccinations, as many as 50% of pregnant women will choose not to be vaccinated. This is a troubling trend considering that pregnant women have higher risks of experiencing moderate to severe complications of a flu infection.
Maternal and Fetal Complications
And these complications are no laughing matter, too. Pregnant women infected with the flu virus are at a higher risk for stillbirth, premature birth, and low birthrate, among other birth complications. In many cases, both mother and child can die!
With a flu vaccine, fortunately, these birth complications can be prevented. Plus, the pregnant mother and baby will also benefit from it – the mother can have an easier pregnancy since the symptoms of a flu infection will not be experienced while the baby can develop normally in the womb.
Benefits After Birth
Newborn babies also benefit when their mothers were vaccinated while they were still in the womb. This is because the flu vaccine provides them – the newborn babies – with protection for up to 3 months, with many studies even suggesting that the benefits last for 6 months after birth.
Keep in mind that infants below six months of age cannot be vaccinated for safety reasons. Doctors use the flu vaccine administered to the mother in bridging at least half the gap between the time of birth and the time of the first vaccine for an infant. Basically, the mother passes on the protection to her baby – truly, one of the best reasons to be vaccinated, if not for yourself, then for your newborn baby who cannot fight off the virus as easily as a healthy child or adult.
Doctors recommend the flu vaccine during any trimester of your pregnancy, which means that you have the free choice. You must, nonetheless, discuss your suitability for the vaccine as there are special cases when it is not recommended. You will not also be given the nasal spray vaccine as the CDC does not recommend it for expectant mothers.
You may or may not experience side effects after the injection. These include soreness, redness and swelling on the area of injection, headache, fever, and muscle aches, which you can discuss with your doctor.