Doctors continue to recommend flu vaccine for pregnant women. There’s still time to be vaccinated before the flu season has peaked.
The flu poses a serious health risk for pregnant women and their babies. Due to changes in how the immune system, heart and lungs function during pregnancy, pregnant women are at higher risk of experiencing severe symptoms from influenza. In some cases, flu during pregnancy can also lead to premature birth, neural tube defects or other adverse outcomes for developing babies. Maternal immunization is the only way to provide protection for young infants, as their developing immune system doesn’t allow them to develop a protective immune response from immunization until they are 6 months of age. For this reason, obstetricians and scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to recommend that pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester of their pregnancy to protect themselves and their newborn babies.
While a recent study published in the September 25, 2017, edition of the journal Vaccine suggested that there may be an association between the seasonal flu vaccine and miscarriage during early pregnancy among women who received the shot two years in a row. Due to the small data set and narrow results, the study’s authors, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) acknowledge the need for further research in this area. The ACIP continues to recommend that women receive the flu vaccine during pregnancy given the risks of influenza to the mother, the developing baby and the newborn.