Flu Shot Pregnancy

Updated on September 09, 2010
A.U. asks from Allen Park, MI
13 answers

Hey Moms.. I'm due on Oct 23rd and contemplating whether or not I should get the flu shot before I deliver or after.
My 2nd daughter was born Oct 31st 2008 and I DID get it while I was pregnant with her and everything was fine. Not sure why I'm stressing over it again, probably cause I over think everything! Plus the difference is that this years flu shot contains protection to the h1n1. I guess I'm looking at it 2 ways.... the bad being.all the preservatives in there (which i've head is really no different than eating a tuna fish sandwich) and the good being that some of the antibodies I build up to it may be passed on to the baby...
I have a 6 yr old and another that will be 2 on halloween. I do plan to get them the shot (oh and my husband)
All my OBGYN tells me is that its fine to get it and its up to me. I relaly like him, but he wasn't very helpful with that question, lol
Opinions? :) Thanks

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answers from Boston on

I'd get it before, not only for all the other reasons that the moms have posted, but honestly, you have a better chance of picking up the flu at the hospital when you have the baby than you do hanging around the house after s/he's born. Hospitals are crawling with germs.

Good luck on the new little one.

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answers from Washington DC on

Oh, you'll get lots of opinions :)

I feel very strongly that the flu vaccine is a good thing, and I would feel very irresponsible about not protecting my kids. I think that the trisks of not getting the shot far out way the risks of getting it. You are keeping yourself well as a mother with a newborn. You are passing immunity to your child who will go this wholw flu season not old enough to receive it. You are protecting strangers on the street who don't have the good sense or financial ability to ge the shot. It is a win-win. There is no evidence that regular flu vaccination (and recieving the preservative within) is dangerous. However, the flu is very dangerous to a newborn. It is no better to develop natural immunity by catching the flu. Why put yourself through that and risk bad consequences. Yes, some peopel will not feel too bd wiht the flu. Some poeple will feel horrendous. And some poeple will die from it. Rarely getting the flu or not minding having it is not evidence tha tht eflus shot i unceseary.

A little background. I am a scientist, although not in the medical field, I am trained in understanding research and evidence and peer review. When my first daughter was born (she is 6 now too) the autism-vaccine debate was still a very new and open question. I quizzed my doctors, got second opinions, talked to an osteopath. I ended up vaccinating, but delayed and broke up shots, etc. With my second child, I did the same thing, but vaccinated fully and as soon as I possibly could because my questions were answered. I don't blindly follow medical opinion, but I also don't rely on superstitioun and conspiracy fears either.

So, I think it is both safe and wise to get the flu vaccine.

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answers from Columbus on

Talk to your OBGYN about it and follow the instructions you get.

As for the article about the Austrailan flu vaccine issue, it is not accurate and is misleading. Here are the facts:

From the CDC:

What 2010-11 seasonal influenza (flu) vaccines will be available for children and adults in the United States?
There are two types of seasonal influenza vaccines for children and adults: the trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) (the flu shot) and the live attenuated vaccine (nasal spray)

The following vaccines will be available for children and adults this season:

Vaccine Trade name Manufacturer Age group
TIV Fluzone sanofi pasteur >6 mos
TIV Fluvirin Novartis Vaccine >4 yrs
TIV Agriflu Novartis Vaccine >18 yrs
TIV Fluarix GlaxosmithKline >3 yrs
TIV FluLaval ID Biomedical Corp. of Quebec, a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKine >18 yrs
TIV Afluria* CSL Biotherapies >9 yrs
TIV High Dose Fluzone High Dose sanofi pasteur >65 yrs
LAIV FluMist MedImmune 2–49 yrs

*However, if no other age-appropriate, licensed inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine is available for a child aged 5 years through 8 years old who has a medical condition that increases their risk for influenza complications; providers may use Afluria. However, providers should discuss the benefits and risks of influenza vaccination with the parents or caregivers before administering Afluria.

A more detailed table is available on CDC’s website.

What was the experience in 2010 in the Southern Hemisphere when using flu vaccines made by CSL Biotherapies?
Australia and New Zealand are the only two Southern Hemisphere countries to use CSL Biotherapies seasonal flu vaccine during the 2010 flu season. During the 2010 flu season in Australia, administration of seasonal flu vaccine manufactured by CSL Biotherapies (brand names Fluvax and Fluvax Junior) was associated with increased frequency of fever and febrile seizures in children aged 6 months through 4 years old. In Australia, fever in children aged 5 through 8 years has also been reported following vaccination with Fluvax.

Extensive investigations by Australian authorities have indicated that administration of CSL flu vaccine in 2010 was associated with fevers and febrile seizures in young children in the 4-24 hours following vaccination at higher rates than was observed with seasonal flu vaccine during previous years in Australia. On April 23, 2010, seasonal flu vaccination of otherwise healthy children 5 years and younger was suspended in Australia by the Chief Medical Officer. Similarly, following reports of febrile seizures, the New Zealand Ministry of Health recommended against use of CSL Fluvax for children less than 5 years. In addition, there have been increased reports of fever in children aged 5 years through 8 years after Fluvax or Fluvax Jr in 2010 compared to the previous three flu seasons. To date, despite extensive investigations, no cause has been identified to explain these findings.

While data are limited, no increase in fever or febrile seizures has been reported to date among children administered other flu vaccines during the 2010 flu season in the Southern Hemisphere. On July 30, 2010, vaccination of children less than 5 years was allowed to resume in Australia using flu vaccines other than the CSL flu vaccines.

In several studies conducted in flu seasons prior to 2010-11 in the United States, no association between flu vaccine administration and febrile seizures has been detected. Afluria was approved for use in adults 18 years and older in 2007, and subsequently, approved for use in children age 6 months and older in November 2009. Thus Afluria has not been widely used for pediatric vaccination of U.S. children.

Are CSL flu vaccines licensed for use in the United States?
The seasonal CSL flu vaccine, marketed in the United States under the brand name Afluria, is approved by FDA for use in people aged 6 months and older in the United States. However, on July 30, 2010, information was added to the Warnings and Precautions section of the Afluria package insert to inform U.S. healthcare practitioners that administration of CSL’s 2010 Southern Hemisphere flu vaccine has been associated with an increased number of reports compared to previous years of fever and febrile seizures following influenza vaccination in children aged predominantly less than 5 years.

What does CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend regarding use of Afluria?
ACIP recommends:

Afluria should not be used in children aged 6 months through 8 years.
Other age-appropriate, licensed seasonal influenza vaccine formulations should be used for prevention of influenza in children aged 6 months through 8 years.
If no other age-appropriate, licensed seasonal influenza vaccine is available for a child aged 5 years through 8 years old who has a medical condition that increases their risk for influenza complications, Afluria may be given, and providers should discuss the benefits and risks of influenza vaccination with the parents or caregivers before administering Afluria.
What are CDC and FDA doing about this situation?
For the 2010-11 flu season, CDC and FDA will conduct enhanced vaccine safety monitoring for flu vaccines to monitor for new or unexpected adverse events. CDC and FDA will closely monitor for seizures after flu vaccination using existing vaccine safety data systems, including the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project. VAERS reports following 2010-11 flu vaccinations will be regularly reviewed with special attention to reports of febrile seizures in children aged less than 10 years. Medical personnel at CDC and FDA will routinely review submitted VAERS reports and obtain any needed additional clinical or other information for reports of febrile seizures or other serious adverse events following administration of 2010-11 seasonal flu vaccine. The VSD will be used for rapid ongoing analyses to monitor for serious adverse events following seasonal flu vaccine including seizures in young children. VSD is also available to evaluate possible associations suggested by VAERS or other sources as needed.

Investigations into the cause(s) of fever and febrile seizures following vaccination with CSL flu vaccines are ongoing. FDA and CDC are collaborating with Australia’s regulatory authority (Therapeutic Goods Administration), other international regulatory counterparts, and CSL to obtain additional information.

What is a febrile seizure?
"Febrile" means "relating to a fever." In some young children aged less than 5 years old, having a fever from any cause can bring on a seizure. During a febrile seizure, a child often has spasms or jerking movements—large or small—and may lose consciousness. Febrile seizures usually last only a minute or two, and do not cause any permanent neurological damage. They are most common with fevers reaching 102°F (38.9°C) or higher but can also occur at lower temperatures or when a fever is going back down.

What kinds of things can cause febrile seizures?
Febrile seizures can happen with any condition that causes a fever, including typical childhood illnesses like a cold, the flu, an ear infection, or roseola.

Is there an increased risk for febrile seizures after children receive a flu vaccine?
Several studies of children in the United States have shown no increased risk for febrile seizures following seasonal flu vaccines. One study included more than 45,000 children aged 6 months–23 months who received influenza vaccines during the years 1991–2003. Multiple systems are in place to monitor adverse events, including seizures, after seasonal flu vaccines. There is no indication that seasonal flu vaccines or the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccines used in the United States during the 2009-10 flu season were associated with an increased risk for febrile seizures. Febrile seizures can occur, however, when a child is sick with an influenza (flu) virus infection.

How serious is a febrile seizure?
Most children who have febrile seizures recover quickly and have no lasting effects. However, febrile seizures often result in a visit to an emergency room and can be very frightening for parents and caregivers.

About 1 in 3 children who have one febrile seizure will have at least one more febrile seizure. Most children (greater than 90%) who have a seizure will not develop epilepsy. Genetic predisposition and other factors, such as cerebral palsy, delayed development, or other neurological abnormalities, increase a child’s risk for developing epilepsy after a febrile seizure.

I'm a parent or care giver of a child under 9 years. How can I be certain that flu vaccines are safe?
There are other seasonal flu vaccines available for children under 9 years in the United States for the 2010-11 flu season. No seasonal flu vaccines other than the CSL TIV used in the Southern Hemisphere have been found to increase the risk of a febrile seizure. In addition, no increased risk of febrile seizures was found after vaccination with the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine. Flu vaccines have a long track record for safety. Vaccines, as with any medicines, carry some risks. The main adverse event associated with the seasonal flu vaccine is soreness at the injection site. See the Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) for seasonal influenza vaccine [51 KB, 2 pg]. Parents should speak with their child’s healthcare provider about any concerns they have about flu vaccines for their children.

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answers from Detroit on

I am due soon as well, and won't be getting the flu shot. I have never gotten the flu shot, neither has anyone in my family. We have all faired well through flu season and I don't see a reason to change that now. Do whatever makes you comfortable. If you have never reacted badly to the shot, it probably won't be a big deal, however waiting until after the baby is born makes more sense to me.

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answers from San Francisco on

It takes 2 weeks for it to be fully effective, and if you get it while you are pregnant you pass along the benefits to your baby (they retain these benefits even after they are born). My doctor and our pediatrician said it does not transfer through breast milk like other antibodies.I suggest getting it as soon as you can while still pregnant to protect your baby. CONGRATULATIONS!

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answers from Indianapolis on

Pregnant women are at HIGH risk for the flu and are one of the segments of the population that should receive the flu shot under almost all circumstances.

I normally do not get flu shots. I have them 3 times - twice while pregnant and once while in chemo.

Here are the current recommendations from ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):



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answers from Detroit on

Like most of the other moms, I would say get it before you have baby. You can begin benefitting from it before flu season is in full swing, your baby benefits as well. Besides, do you really want to drag a newborn into a doctor's office after he/she is born? It will be one less thing to do once baby is here!

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answers from Honolulu on

When pregnant... the immune system of a woman, is decreased.
that is what I was told... thus, she is more prone, to illness. But yet, you can't take cold meds... due to being pregnant.
But, the flu shot is recommended for pregnant women, due to the complications it can cause... for both mom and baby.

Discuss it with your OB/GYN.

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answers from Tallahassee on

Hi There, I had both the Flu and the H1N1 shot last year while I was pregnant. Cause I was pregnant I has the shot with No mercury in it. I was fine and baby is fine. I would say go for it!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I got the flu shot when I was pregnant and regretted it although everything is fine. I did not get the H1N1 and wouldn't although I do know people who did. I would wait til after the baby is born. If you breastfeed you should pass the antibodies through your milk anyway. Check out this website about this year's flu shot.



answers from New York on

I got the flu shot when I was pregnant (I was due in March). Only after did I find out there was thimeresol in it. I am still upset about it 2 1/2 years later. I was actually going to post a question about it myself and see what other moms had experienced. I think as long as its thimerisol free its ok. Since you are due at the end of October you could just get in when you have the baby as long as your other kids are immunized. If you stay home with the baby this winter I think its ok to just get it yourself and not while you are pregnant. If she is going to outside daycare you may want to get the shot while pregnant to protect her.



answers from Dallas on

I would never get the H1N1 vaccine. It has no long term testing. Who knows what will show up 5 years from now. Do your own research on the internet. I remember when the rota tag vaccine was introduced for the first time. It caused intestinal blockage and death in some of the infants who recieved it. It was recalled and then re-introduced years later. It is up to you.



answers from Topeka on

The only time I had the flu shot was with my 1st He was due in Sept.My 2nd wasn't asked she was born Jan. my 3rd it never came up she was born March.I did get sick several times but not the flu..I do belive in eating right "GOOD" handwashing & keeping a clean well disinfected home i'm a breastfeeding mama & those antibodies are passed to baby.You'll be delivering soon if it were me i'd rather get the flu shot after baby is born before discharge from the hospital & if you planned to get everyone else in the home get them soon or right after baby is born.But just keep in mind the flu or H1N1 isn't the only sickness you'll have to worry about,if anyone is sick that wants to come over tell them at a later date & alway's have your 6 yr old wash his hands after he comes home from school(I do this)& it helps relieve my mind that all thsoe germies are some what down the drain.

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