Pregnant women watch what they put in their bodies. There are several restrictions including, refraining from smoking, drinking alcohol, eating sushi and limiting caffeine. Along those same lines, some expecting women feel as though they shouldn’t get any immunizations for fear of hurting their baby or making them sick.
As an ob/gyn in Alpharetta, this fear among mothers-to-be actually frightens me. For most people, the flu is a mild illness but for those who are at high risk, like pregnant women, the flu can cause other more serious problems like pneumonia, bronchitis or sinus infections. Getting the flu during pregnancy can cause harm to both the mother and infant. Pregnant women are more likely to develop severe illness from the flu because of changes in their immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy. These problems can lead to hospitalization or even death.
The CDC says there is no reason to skip the shot. They note that the flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over the last decade and has not been shown to harm women or their infants. In fact, getting the flu shot before delivery can protect the baby even after they are born.
I take a great deal of time to read and keep up-to-date with current guidelines in order to provide the best care for my patients. Keeping everyone in our practice healthy, including the staff and their families is a top priority. As a result of that philosophy, I am urging everyone to get a flu shot, especially pregnant women in any trimester, breastfeeding women, those caring for newborns and babies over six months old.