Is it safe to get a flu vaccine during pregnancy, even if I have never gotten a flu vaccine before? Are there any risks to mother or baby with the vaccine? Are there any risks to mother or baby from the flu?
Vaccination against influenza has been shown to be safe in pregnancy. In fact, it is recommended for patients who are at high risk of acquiring influenza in pregnancy, such as women with underlying medical disorders or healthcare providers. Women who are at low risk of acquiring the flu, however, are recommended to delay their flu vaccine until the second trimester. There are no known risks to either the mother or fetus with the flu vaccine. Influenza during pregnancy can lead to pneumonia in the mother. Most of the time this is a self-limiting process, lasting only 3 to 4 days. However, women can develop a superimposed bacterial infection that can be fairly severe and may require hospitalization. There are no proven congenital anomalies (birth defects) associated with influenza infection and pregnancy.
Thomas G. Stovall, M.D.
Dr. Stovall is a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee and Partner of Women’s Health Specialists, Inc.