Flu Vaccine: Is it Safe During Pregnancy?

Is it safe to get a flu vaccine while pregnant?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

The flu can be more severe in expecting moms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the flu vaccine be administered to certain "target groups," saying, "Much of the illness and death caused by influenza can be prevented by annual influenza vaccination." Among these groups are "women who will be more than three months pregnant during the influenza season" -- the winter months.

The CDC states "Women who will be beyond the first trimester of pregnancy (greater than or equal to 14 weeks' gestation) during the influenza season should be vaccinated.

Pregnant women who have medical conditions that increase their risk for complications from influenza should be vaccinated before the influenza season -- regardless of the stage of pregnancy. Because currently available influenza vaccine is an inactivated vaccine, many experts consider influenza vaccination safe during any stage of pregnancy."

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) also recommends that "pregnant women who have other medical conditions that increase their risks for complications from influenza should be vaccinated; the vaccine is considered safe for pregnant women. Administering the vaccine after the first trimester is a reasonable precaution to minimize any concern over the theoretical risk of teratogenicity. However, it is undesirable to delay vaccinating pregnant women who have high-risk conditions and who will still be in the first trimester of pregnancy when the influenza season begins."

The optimal time for influenza vaccinations is from October through November. Influenza activity generally peaks between late December and early March in the United States.

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