Flu Vaccine is Safe for Pregnant Women

Research out of Norway confirms previous research that the flu vaccine is safe to take in pregnancy


 

I do not routinely get the flu shot as part of my health care regimen (much to the chagrin of my close friend who is a public health nurse specializing in immunizations) and I did not get one when I was pregnant with either child. An article in yesterday’s Star, however, made me grateful that neglecting to get that shot did not have severe consequences for my babies, especially in light of the fact I did, while pregnant with my son, get the flu.

My obstetrician didn’t tell me to get the shot. The only indication that it is recommended was signage in the office, set beside ‘Back to Sleep’ posters and other public health announcements. Because I don’t routinely get it, I glazed over the poster. 

The research out of Norway confirms previous research that the flu vaccine is safe to take in pregnancy, allaying concerns that it could lead to miscarriage. The research also showed that, contrary to what I was told by my practitioner when I caught the flu in my sixth month of pregnancy, there is indeed a risk to the fetus if mom gets the flu doing pregnancy.

"Pregnant women are at increased risk for complications from influenza. Research also demonstrates that vaccination of pregnant women protects their newborns from influenza and influenza-related hospitalization. Also, infants born during influenza season to vaccinated women are less likely to be premature, small for gestational age, and low birth weight,” reads a statement on the Public Health Agency of Canada's website and as written by the Toronto Star.

Many people chose to not get the annual flu shot because of the idea that the shot itself is a speculator of what the primary flu strains will be that season. It is part of the reason I don't make sure I get my shot every year. This year, the flu season has hit particularly hard, sending countless people to hospital and taking lives, most recently, taking the life of a 2 year old boy in Toronto. 

The flu is no joke. It is not a very bad cold. It can kill. 

And maybe, in light of this current research with further solidifies both the safety of the vaccine in pregnancy and the benefits to the fetus, the flu shot will become a regular part of the health care regimen for pregnant women. 

Because, as my nurse friend has tried to tell me for years 'some protection is better than none.

 

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Leslie is the mother of one year old Zachary and three year old Abigail. When not feeding and bathing and cleaning and giggling she is a journalist with a passion for writing and sharing her opinions on and experiences with parenting, with no holds barred.  

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