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Should I get the flu shot while pregnant?

I just found out I am pregnant and I was wondering what your opinion is on getting a flu shot at this early stage. Can a flu shot affect the embryo/baby?


Toby Marshall | Obstetrician

Toby Marshall

The influenza vaccine is strongly recommended for all pregnant patients. The killed injectible vaccine is recommended during pregnancy. The live attenuated vaccine (Flumist) is not appropriate for pregnant patients and should not be given to their family members either. 

The risks of contracting influenza during pregnancy are significant. Depending upon the strain involved, the risk of ending up in the ICU on a ventilator can be as high as 50% (nearly 1 in 10 for the Influenza B strain responsible for the current outbreak). This can lead to loss of the pregnancy and even the mother's death. 

The risks of the vaccine are negligible and limited to allergic reactions. There is no evidence of any fetal risks from the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) both recommend getting the flu shot as soon as one can, regardless of the trimester.

Read more answers by Dr. Marshall