Is it safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy?

Answer From Mary Marnach, M.D.

Yes, it's safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that anyone who is pregnant during flu season get a flu shot, regardless of the trimester.

A flu shot during pregnancy can help:

  • Prevent the flu and other health problems. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant people more likely to become seriously ill from the flu. Getting a flu shot can help prevent the flu during pregnancy. The flu shot also reduces a pregnant person's chances of being hospitalized with the flu by about 40%.
  • Prevent potential fetal health problems due to the flu. Having a fever caused by the flu early in pregnancy might increase the risk of fetal birth defects and other fetal health problems.
  • Protect a baby after birth. Infants are at a higher risk of severe flu symptoms. But a flu vaccine can't be given until a baby is 6 months old. The antibodies that develop from a flu shot during pregnancy pass through the placenta. They also go through breast milk if you're breastfeeding. These antibodies help protect your baby from the flu after birth.

When you get vaccinated, request the flu shot — not the nasal spray vaccine. The flu shot is made from a virus that is not active. That makes it safe during any stage of pregnancy. The nasal spray vaccine isn't recommended for use during pregnancy.

If you have concerns about the flu shot during pregnancy, talk to a member of your healthcare team.


Mary Marnach, M.D.

Mayo Clinic Minute: Why getting vaccinated for the flu is doubly important this season

DeeDee Stiepan: Getting your annual flu vaccine is especially important this season.

Gregory Poland, M.D., Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic: Where we have COVID spreading, we will very likely have influenza spreading.

DeeDee Stiepan: The flu vaccine won't protect against COVID-19 but it can help reduce the chance of getting the flu.

Dr. Poland: The symptoms of COVID and influenza overlap almost exactly in their initial manifestations with the exception of the loss of smell, loss of taste. That would be very unusual in influenza.

DeeDee Stiepan: Getting a flu vaccine helps rule out influenza if you develop respiratory issues and helps reduce stress on the health care system.

Dr. Poland: Every American, age six months and older, get a flu vaccine. An opportunity we have in the context of this twindemic is not only to get our flu vaccines but to remember these non-pharmaceutical interventions: the mask wearing, physical distancing. While they prevent COVID, they also decrease the risk of influenza.

DeeDee Stiepan: For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm DeeDee Stiepan.

Flu vaccines at Mayo Clinic

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Sept. 01, 2023 See more Expert Answers