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Flu shots and vaccines when you are pregnant

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There is a lot of debate about taking vaccines (especially the flu shot) during pregnancy and whether they have any effects on your developing fetus. Some say that the flu shot will increase the chances of the fetus coming in contact with the virus, while others say it has no effect. It is completely normal for parents to have concerns; hopefully, this article will help provide some clarity. 

There are two main forms of protection against the flu- the nasal spray and the flu shot. Doctors and experts highly recommend that pregnant women ONLY take the flu shot as it contains inactive virus cells and therefore won’t affect the fetus. The nasal spray contains a small amount of weakened but live virus cells and therefore could potentially harm the fetus and you. 

Does taking the flu shot or other vaccines have any effect on the fetus? 

According to CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink Project, there were no increases in miscarriages after the flu vaccination in a study done over 3 flu seasons. The CDC also recommends that pregnant women get their flu shot during any period of their pregnancy. This will allow one year of protection for the child, and generally will not have any negative effects. Click here for more information. Although the mother may face side effects, it usually lasts up to 2 days and does not harm the fetus. 

Why should I take the flu shot?

Taking the flu shot is important for the safety of the fetus and the mother. Firstly, the mother’s immune system is heavily weakened during pregnancy and is more prone to catching the flu. The flu shot can lower the chances of this happening and reduce the chance of hospitalization by up to 40%. Not only does the flu shot protect the mother but it alsopasses the antibodies onto the fetus- they can remain fully immune until 6 months old. Further, studies have also shown that it's safe to get the shot at any stage during pregnancy.

What if I have an allergy?

If you have allergies such as an egg allergy, it’s still safe and recommended to get vaccinated IF it is a mild allergic reaction. If you have a severe allergic reaction, contact your doctor. There are also two types of vaccines that are egg-free (ovalbumin-free).

Keep in mind that this article is simply a guide for the general audience. You should refer to your doctor for your specific situation and needs. 

*DISCLAIMER* While this article will provide some facts and recommendations, please know that if you have other concerns, you should consult your doctor.

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