Is the flu shot safe during pregnancy?

Moms-to-be: Will you be getting a flu shot this year?

When it comes to the flu shot, controversial studies and misinformed websites are giving moms-to-be one more thing to worry about. But, fear not—experts are saying the flu shot’s benefits seriously outweigh the risks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are more prone to severe illness from the flu due to changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy. There’s a large body of scientific studies that support the safety of pregnant women receiving the flu shot during any trimester. Plus, research shows that vaccinating a pregnant woman can also protect the baby from the flu after birth—the mom passes antibodies on to her developing baby in the womb and through breast milk after birth (newborns and infants under six months old should not receive the flu vaccination).

So, what’s all the hubbub about? A 2017 study reported an association between a pregnant woman getting the flu vaccine and having a miscarriage, and earlier research linked the shot with an increased risk of autism in the unborn child. Both theories, increased miscarriage risk and the chance of autism, have since been proven false.

The CDC, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Harvard Medical School, The Mayo Clinic, and countless other reputable organizations continue to recommend that all pregnant women receive the influenza vaccine, regardless of their trimester.

The Mayo Clinic reports that there’s more research to prove that the actual flu itself, not the shot, during pregnancy is linked with miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects, and fetal death. A flu vaccination will decrease all of these risks.

There are only a few instances when a pregnant woman should refuse the flu vaccine: if you’re already suffering from an illness of some sort or if you have an egg allergy. You should also make sure that you’re requesting the flu shot and not the nasal spray vaccine, which is not recommended for use in pregnant women.

Talk to your doctor with any questions or concerns you have.

Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

This content is for informational purposes only. Please contact your physician for more information and advice.