Protect Two from the Flu

Protect Two from the Flu

The flu vaccineprotects you and your baby

It's safe to get anytime during pregnancy, andit keeps protecting your baby up to 6 months after birth. We've collected someof the most common questions women ask, along with answers backed by some ofthe latest medical research. Use this to start a conversation with your doctor,then get the flu vaccine. Learn more at


Q: I got a flu vaccine last year. Why do I need anotherone?
A: Flu viruses are constantly changing, so each year the flu vaccine is updatedto protect against the three flu viruses that research indicates will be mostlikely to cause disease that season. Also, immunity from the vaccine can wanefrom one season to the next. Previous flu vaccines will not protect you fromgetting the flu in the current or next flu season.

Q:If the flu season is over, do I still need the vaccine? 
A: Yes. Although the flu season peaks between October and April, the flu isyear-round. Because being pregnant puts you at high risk for the flu, youshould get vaccinated even in the summer. 

Q: How many flu vaccines would I have to take? Is it just one?
A: You only need one flu vaccine every year.


Q: Why do I need to have a flu vaccine?
A: Getting the flu can cause serious problems when you are pregnant. 
Pregnant women who get the flu are at higher risk of hospitalization, evendeath, than non-pregnant women. Severe illness in the pregnant mother can alsobe dangerous to her fetus because it increases the chance for serious problemssuch as premature labor and delivery. 

Q: How does the flu vaccine protect me and my baby against the flu?
A: When you get your flu vaccine, the vaccine encourages your body to start tomake antibodies that help protect you against the flu. Antibodies can be passedon to your unborn baby, and help protect the baby for up to 6 months after heor she is born. This is important since babies cannot get the flu vaccine untilthey are 6 months old. 
It takes about two weeks for your body to make antibodies after getting the fluvaccine. Talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated as soon asyou can. 

Q: Is it safe to get the flu vaccine while I am pregnant? Can it hurt mybaby?
A: Flu vaccines have been given for more than 50 years, and they have a verygood safety track record. The vaccines are made the same way each year, andtheir safety is closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention, and the Food and Drug Administration. 
Millions of flu vaccines have been given to pregnant women over many years.They have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their unborninfants. 

Q:When is it safe to get the flu vaccine while pregnant? First trimester, secondtrimester or last trimester?
A: You can receive the flu vaccine at any time, during any trimester, while youare pregnant. 

Q: Where can I get the flu vaccine?
A: Talk to your health care provider about getting the flu vaccine. Fluvaccines are easy to find. They are offered in various locations such as yourhealth care provider's office, local pharmacies or health clinics. 

Q: Can I get sick from the flu vaccine?
A: You cannot get sick from the flu vaccine. After getting your flu vaccine,you may experience some mild side effects. The most common side effects includesoreness, tenderness, redness and/or swelling where the vaccine was given.Sometimes you may experience headache, muscle aches, low grade fever, nausea,or feel tired. 

Q: Will I be able to breastfeed my baby after I give birth if I get the fluvaccine? Is it safe to do so?
A: Yes. You can breastfeed your baby after you give birth if you have receivedthe flu vaccine. In fact, antibodies may also be passed in breast milk. Theseantibodies will help protect your baby from the flu.

Don't Wait

Q: What happens to me and my baby if I get the flu whilepregnant?
A: You and the baby could become seriously ill. For example, having a feverfrom the flu, or any other infection early in pregnancy, increases the chanceof having a baby with birth defects or other problems. Severe illness in themother can also increase the chances of premature labor and delivery. 

Q: Do I need the flu vaccine if I am healthy?
A: Even if you are generally healthy, changes in immune, heart, and lungfunctions during pregnancy make you more likely to get seriously ill from theflu. 

Q: What if I wait to get the flu vaccine only if someone I know gets sick?
A: It is recommended to get the flu vaccine every season. 
If you wait until people around you are sick from the flu, it will probably betoo late to protect yourself. It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine toprovide full protection, so the sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely itis that you will be fully protected once the flu begins to circulate in yourcommunity.

Q:What if I am afraid of shots? Can I get the flu mist/nasal spray instead?
A: The very minor pain of a flu vaccine in shot form is nothing compared to thesuffering that can be caused by the flu. 
The flu vaccine comes in two forms: an injectible form (the flu shot) and anasal spray. The nasal spray (or LAIV) is not recommended forpregnant women.


Q: Are there other ways to prevent the flu besides thevaccine?
A: Getting a flu vaccine when you are pregnant is the best way to protect bothyou and your baby from the flu. There are some preventive measures, such ashand-washing and keeping away from persons who are infected with the flu. Askyour health care provider about other healthy behaviors such as diet, rest andexercise. Although these do not prevent the flu, they are considered healthybehaviors.

Q:What do I do if I get the flu while I'm pregnant?
A: If you are pregnant and you suspect you have the flu, consult your healthcare provider right away. 

Q: Does anyone else need to get the flu vaccine, besides me, in my family? 
A: It is recommended that everyone receive the flu vaccine every year, unlessotherwise advised by their health care provider.