Getting the flu shot while pregnant

Published 8:20 am Wednesday, October 5, 2022

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to getting the flu shot while pregnant. Many pregnant women are concerned about the safety of the vaccine for their developing baby. The Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend the flu shot during pregnancy as it provides the best protection against the flu and flu symptoms for both mom and baby.

The flu vaccine is safe to receive at any point during pregnancy. The recommended flu vaccine is the inactivated influenza vaccine, which means it is made from an inactivated or dead virus that is safe for mom and baby. After receiving the flu vaccine, the body forms antibodies, which are proteins that can help fight infection. The antibodies are also passed along to the baby, which offers protection following birth.

While the vaccine may not cover all strains of the virus, it can significantly decrease the risk of getting sick. If you still contract the flu despite receiving the vaccine, the vaccine can also lessen the severity of your symptoms. This is important because pregnant women are more susceptible to serious illness than women who are not pregnant. They also have a higher risk of developing pneumonia, being hospitalized, and even being admitted to the intensive care unit, all of which can affect the developing baby.

Some people notice side effects when they get the flu vaccine, but these are usually very mild and can include soreness near the injection site, headache, fever and fatigue. If you have an allergy to eggs or the flu vaccine, talk with your provider first, as you may still be able to receive the vaccine. If you missed the vaccine while pregnant and are now breastfeeding, it is still safe to get.

Another important thing to remember is to contact your provider as soon as possible if you are exposed to someone with the flu or if you experience any flu-like symptoms. They may recommend that you start a medication for prevention or treatment. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.

When it comes to you and the health of your baby, preventative care is always the best care. The flu vaccine is a simple way to protect yourself and your loved ones. Please discuss any health questions or concerns you may have with a medical professional. To schedule an appointment to for the flu vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine or booster, visit Ochsner.org.

Additionally, Ochsner Health will host its annual drive-thru and walk-up flu fairs for patients ages 6 months and older on Saturday, October 29. Appointments are preferred. Patients should visit Ochsner.org/flu for more information, including a list of locations and call 1-866-OCHSNER or visit MyOchsner.org to book appointments for the whole family.er.

Dr. Diana Farge received her medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Following this, she completed her residency at LSU Health Science Center in Baton Rouge. Dr. Farge specializes in women’s services, gynecology, obstetrics, family birthing services and maternity care at Ochsner Health Center – River Parishes in LaPlace. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Farge at Ochsner Health Center – River Parishes, 502 Rue de Santé, LaPlace, please call 985-652-3500 or schedule online at Ochsner.org.