It’s surprising that so many pregnant women are still going without a flu shot. A recent study analyzed data for more than 5,300 women and found during the 2013 to 2014 flu season, only 41 percent got the influenza vaccine. This number is higher than other years, yet the Center for Disease Control recommends ALL pregnant women to get vaccinated.
What complications can happen if you’re pregnant?
If you catch the flu while pregnant, it’s more likely to cause severe illness. Complications such as pneumonia can be serious, even deadly. Your risk for miscarriage or premature labor increases. And having a fever early in pregnancy can lead to a greater chance of delivering a newborn with birth defects.
Why is the flu worse for pregnant women?
When you’re pregnant, your immune system is weaker. And this makes you more vulnerable to illness. To help you reduce your risk of getting sick, here are my prescriptions:
1. Get a flu shot during pregnancy
It’s safe and you’ll pass on the antibodies which can help protect your baby after birth.
2. Wash your hands often
Especially before eating and after sneezing or going to the bathroom.
3. Regularly wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant.
Because viruses and bacteria can live 2 to 8 hours on hard surfaces like doorknobs and countertops.
4. If you’re afraid of the flu shot, get the details on it
Millions of pregnant women over many years have gotten the vaccine– the flu shot hasn’t been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies.
If they catch the flu while pregnant, what can they do about it?
If you’re pregnant and you think you have the flu, call your doctor especially before taking any medications. You likely can take acetaminophen to treat the fever. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Call 911 if you have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, experience pain, dizziness or don’t feel any movement from your baby.