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Donna BaloFlu (Including Swine Flu) Shots in Pregnancy
by Donna Harvel Balo ARNP, CNM, MS

Q. I've heard so many conflicting opinions regarding flu shots in pregnancy. It is safe anytime during pregnancy? What about the Swine Flu shot?

A. Pregnant women are at higher risk for severe complications and death from influenza, including both 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) influenza and seasonal influenza. Changes in the immune, respiratory and cardiovascular systems that occur during pregnancy result in pregnant women being more severely affected by certain pathogens, including influenza.

The Center for Disease Control states that both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 are recommended for all pregnant women and all those people who will care for a newborn. Both flu vaccinations can be administered at the same time but in different injection sites. Both immunizations can be given at any time during pregnancy.

The seasonal flu vaccine has been given safely to millions of pregnant women over the past 45 years. Flu shots have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies. The 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine is made the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine.

There are some people who should not get any flu vaccine without first consulting their provider. These include:

  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
  • People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously.
  • Children younger than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group).
  • People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated).

For further information: http://cdc.gov/h1n1flu/pregnancy/

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