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.
Sept. 01, 2023
- Flu & pregnant women. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/pregnant.htm. Accessed Aug. 18, 2021.
- Shakib JH, et al. Influenza in infants born to women vaccinated during pregnancy. Pediatrics. 2016; doi:10.1542/peds.2015-2360.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice. Committee Opinion No. 732: Influenza vaccination during pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018; doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002588.
- Grohskopf LA, et al. Prevention and control of seasonal influenza with vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2021-2022 influenza season. MMWR Recommendations and Reports. 2021; doi:10.15585/mmwr.rr7005a1.