Flu or influenza, is a viralinfection which usually affects people during season changes such asfall or winter transitions. This disease manifests through symptomswhich are more intense than those of the common cold, but similar incharacteristics.
Usually, when the symptoms of flu startaffecting us, we seek medical assistance and take the prescribedtherapy, managing to overcome fever, sore throat, musclefatigue and pain and all other symptoms through taking medications.Yet, due to the fact that pregnant women are not advised to take manytypes of medications, dealing with the flu may be very hard for them.
Flu Shot During Pregnancy
A study carried out in 1998 showed howsevere impact can flu have on the body of pregnant women.Basically, the study encompassed the 17 flu seasons one afteranother, finding out that pregnant women, during these parts of theyear, are more prone of being hospitalized than all other women. Themain reasons behind these hospitalizations were dangers of heart andlung problems due to the escalation of flu symptoms.
The time of pregnancy whenhospitalizations were most likely to take place was from the week 37 tothe week 42. During this time, women were five times more susceptible toserious heart and lung problems than usually. Moreover, pregnantwomen were one of the main risk groups in 2009, during the breakoutof virus H1N1, also known as swine flu.
Due to all these facts, the US Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention advise all pregnant women andwomen who are planning on becoming pregnant during flu seasons to getvaccinated against this virus and the symptoms of the infection it iscapable of causing.
We need to bear in mind that fluvirus mutates each year, becoming more and more resistant todifferent treatments. Thus, getting vaccinated once a year is thebest possible way of protecting yourself with up-to-date treatments.As for the reactions of pregnant women to the vaccine, early studies,encompassing about 2000 pregnant subjects found out that no healthproblems were present during the prenatal period of fetal life, aswell as the first 6 months of the baby's life after birth. In fact,so far, no dangerous effects were scientifically related to the fluvaccine, regarding both the mother's and the baby's health, beforeand after the pregnancy.
Are There Any Side Effects in Flu Shot?
The first trimester is a delicate timeof pregnancy. During this time, the immune system of a woman dropssignificantly, due to all the hormone fluctuations and changes, aswell as all other biological factors which take place. However, thereare no studies which have resulted in information about the danger offlu vaccines administered during this time. So, not a single personcan be sure that these vaccines are safe.
On the other hand, many differentstudies have proven that vaccination during the second and thirdtrimester does not lead to any dangerous side effect. Regardless, inorder to get protected against the potentially harmful effects of influenza virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionrecommend vaccination during the first trimester. Their mainarguments are related to the potential damage that the baby may getexposed to due to the fevers that the mother may endure whilesuffering from flu, the most common of these being neural tubedefects. Additionally, mothers who have flu during pregnancy may givebirth to babies with neurological problems. Moreover, the mothersthemselves may be in danger of pneumonia and some other, potentiallylife-threatening diseases.
All in all, the CDC claims that thevaccines pose no threat to the health of both the mother and thebaby. If this does not convince you enough, seek your doctor'sopinion or opt for vaccines which do not contain thimerosal.
To sum up, in general, suffering fromflu can be dangerous during your pregnancy, potentially leading topremature birth, or even pneumonia and other conditions jeopardizingboth your and your baby's health. However, if you get vaccinatedagainst flu, you and the fetus inside of your body will receiveadequate protection. Furthermore, once the baby gets born, he/shewill be free from flu during a limited period of time, provided youhave been vaccinated beforehand. Your immune system will protect yourbaby and he/she will be able to resist the flu infection, even whenit comes to H1N1 or the swine flu.
Remember, it is best to get vaccinatedduring September or October, before the flu season starts taking itstoll. Yet, if you are already stuck with the flu or some of itssymptoms, get well before taking the shot. Also, do not getvaccinated if you are allergic or if you have a history ofGuillain-Barre syndrome. In all other situations, bear in mindthat vaccination will keep you and your child safe.