Flu Shots for Pregnant Women
Berkeley Parents Network >
Pregnancy & Childbirth >
Flu Shots for Pregnant Women
I was wondering if I could get some advice from women (and/or spouses) who
have been pregnant in the last few years. My OB Nurse Practitioner at
Kaiser told me that the CDC has recently changed their recommendations
regarding flu shots for pregnant women and are now recommending it for
anyone who will be in their second or third trimester during flu season.
While I trust my nurse (and the CDC) I feel a little nervous about the
fact that this recommendation is such a turn-around from what was
previously thought, since I wonder if there's really been enough time to
research the long-term effects on babies. Anyone have any thoughts about
this? I'd like to hear from people who both did and did not have the
shots, if possible, because I am trying to figure out what I want to do.
Thank you for helping me out with this decision.
I did not get a flu shot while pregnant (2 years ago), but I did get
very ill during my 4th month of pregnancy. In fact, I was so ill that
I lost all the weight I had gained prior to that (about 10lbs). I was
completely miserable and could take only a few things to try to
relieve the symptoms. It was just a horrendous experience, and I
think I was only able to make it to work for a total of 5 days that
month. It just seemed to linger on forever. I'm not sure what kind
of advice you will get, but I know that being ill during my pregnancy
was the worst memory I had, and something I won't forget. Good luck.
I had the flu shot near the end of my first trimester (1995) upon my
doctor's advice ( i have asthma and the flu could have resulted in much
drug intervention if i developed pneumonia). I was nervous about it but
experienced no complications at the time and my daughter seems not to have
been affected. My sister-in-law did get the flu during her 2nd trimester.
She didn't have anything like asthma to worry about. What she did was
balance between keeping her fever below 102 (to avoid stressing the baby)
and minimizing Tylenol doses (to avoid stressing the baby). It seems to be
a balance of risks and exposures depending on your health, circumstances
and exposures. Good Luck!
Last year I was pregnant with my second child and much to my surprise my
doc & nurse practitioner recommended the same thing (getting the flu shot).
Because I have asthma, I followed the advice of my doc and had the shot
given to me in my 2nd trimester. Thank goodness I did it! Everyone at
work around me got really sick with the flu and all I ever ended up getting
was a little cold. BTW, I gave birth to a VERY healthy 8 lb, 10 oz baby
girl who is now 8 months old and very healthy herself.
Im no expert, but since you asked for experiences...I had a flu shot last
winter when I was pregnant with my son (born 3/23/98). I asked my OB about
it and she recommended it, especially since I had a terrible flu every year
before I started taking flu shots 3 years ago, and, knock on wood, haven't
had one since. I found no ill effects at all, on me or my son. As my OB
said, a bad flu can be very dangerous in pregnancy, much more so than the
flu shot. It is especially recommended if you have older kids, or are
around pre/school age kids. Good luck with your pregnancy!
I had a flu shot about a month ago at around 16 weeks pregnant. I hope
everything will be okay. I do know that flu shots have helped me immensely
in the past, and now that I have a toddler who is bringing everything under
the sun home, I think I will really benefit from the protection.
I am under the impression that they evaluate the shot each year to decide
whether pregnant women should use it. If you learn anything more about
this I'd be interested to hear it.
I am currently pregnant and did receive a flu shot this year, as I have in
the past. I made the decision to go ahead after talking with the OB Nurse
Practitioner and also reading the CDC information.
Here is the CDC website on flu shot for those who are interested.
Even in past years flu shots were "ok" for women who were in their second
or third trimesters. The difference this year is that pregnant women are on
the list of people who should get the shot because they are at risk for
serious complications if they do contract the flu. Based on what I read and
my past experience with the vaccine, I decided to go ahead with it.
Here is the section from the CDC site on influenza and the vaccine for
"Case reports and limited studies suggest that pregnancy may increase the
risk for serious medical complications of influenza as a result of
increases in heart rate, stroke volume, and oxygen consumption; decreases
in lung capacity; and changes in immunologic function. Researchers
estimated that an average of 1 to 2 hospitalizations among pregnant women
could be prevented for every 1,000 pregnant women vaccinated. On the basis
of these and other data that suggest that influenza infection may cause
increased morbidity among women during the second and third trimesters of
pregnancy, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
recommends that women who will be beyond the first trimester of pregnancy
(>14 weeks' gestation) during the influenza season be vaccinated. Pregnant
women who have medical conditions that increase their risk for
complications from influenza should be vaccinated before the influenza
season--regardless of the stage of pregnancy. Studies of influenza
vaccination of more than 2,000 pregnant women have demonstrated no adverse
fetal effects associated with influenza vaccine; however, more data are
needed. Because currently available influenza vaccine is not a live-virus
vaccine and major systemic reactions to it are rare, many experts consider
influenza vaccination safe during any stage of pregnancy. However, because
spontaneous abortion is common in the first trimester and unnecessary
exposures have traditionally been avoided during this time, some experts
prefer influenza vaccination during the second trimester to avoid
coincidental association of the vaccine with early pregnancy loss."
I was pregnant 3 years ago and was told (after much research) NOT to do it.
I finally figured this out by reading the materials that come with the flu
shot serum (a nurse handed it to me and said, here is the patient package
insert, read it.) And I did (read it, not get the shot). Maybe it has
changed, but ask to see this piece of paper. It is medical mumbo jumbo but
somewhere in there it says who should not have it. So I did not take it.
this page was last updated: Nov 5, 2007
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network