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Flu shot in pregnancy: Is it safe?

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 17, 2021.

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 all women who are pregnant during flu season get a flu shot, regardless of their trimester.

A flu shot during pregnancy can help:

  • Prevent the flu and maternal complications. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more likely to experience severe illness from the flu. Getting a flu shot can prevent pregnant women from getting the flu. The flu shot also reduces pregnant women'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 your baby after birth. Infants are at increased risk of severe flu symptoms. But a flu vaccine can't be given until a baby is 6 months old. The antibodies you develop from a flu shot during pregnancy pass through the placenta — and 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 an inactivated virus, so it's safe for both mother and baby during any stage of pregnancy. The nasal spray vaccine isn't recommended for use in pregnant women.

If you have concerns about the flu shot during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.

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