Flu Shots For Pregnant Women? Really?
Pregnant women having flu shots? "The flu vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective. As an added bonus, during pregnancy, mothers pass on their immunity, protecting babies in those early months of life," said Dr. Alan R. Fleischman, March of Dimes medical director. "We urge all pregnant women, and women who expect to become pregnant, to get their influenza immunization because the flu poses a serious risk of illness and even death during pregnancy."
Okay, there are many things that one can do to avoid catching an infection from another person or to keep from spreading one, including:
• Are you sick? Please stay at home!
• Always cough or sneeze into a tissue or handkerchief
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
• Don’t kiss anyone on the mouth
• Wash your hands often and with soap and water
• In between soap and water washing, use hand sanitizers
• Don’t share food from your plate or someone else’s
• Don’t share dishes, cutlery, or tooth brushes
The preventative measures on this list, when it comes to flu, may simply not be enough. We know this and many of us have flu shots every season. However, it is important to know that pregnant women and their unborn babies are at a higher risk for infection due to normal changes in their immune system and the flu can be especially dangerous to their hearts and lungs at this time.
It cannot be stressed enough. Catching the flu for a pregnant mother can be very dangerous. It can even be fatal. Getting a flu shot can protect the Mom-to-be and the unborn baby. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control for 2009 indicate that one out of twenty deaths from swine flu were among pregnant women.
Pregnancy can increase certain health risks including:
• Added complications from flu
• Risk of pneumonia
• Risk of dehydration
• Changes in immune system
• Risk to heart and lungs
Recent studies have indicated that having a flu shot while pregnant can not only reduce the likelihood of the Mom and baby from catching the flu, but can also offer some protection from low birth weight babies and from premature birth. The March of Dimes is a leader in pregnancy and baby health. To find a chapter of this non-profit organization in your area, visit the March of Dimes website. Meanwhile, please protect yourself and your baby – have a flu shot.