Story by: Maggie Roetker on October 21, 2020
Seasonal flu is especially dangerous for pregnant women and their babies in normal times. With COVID-19 spreading at the same time, it’s especially important to get vaccinated this year.
“If you’re pregnant, getting a flu shot is critical because you’re more likely to have serious complications from the flu because of changes to your immune system, lungs and heart,” said Kendal K. Stephens, M.D., a specialist with Norton Children’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine. “A high fever from the flu also can put your baby at risk and increase your risk of preterm labor.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu shot usually reduces the risk of getting sick with the flu by 40% to 60%. Because infants can’t get a flu shot for their first six months, they rely on picking up the antibodies from mom.
Related: When is the best time to get a flu shot?
Include the expertise of Norton Women’s Care and Norton Children’s in your birth plan.
“It’s even more critical this year because both the flu and COVID-19 can mean serious illness,” Dr. Stephens said. “We don’t yet know what this winter holds as far as the two infections together, so we want to do everything possible to prevent both.”
Related: Learn more about the flu and pregnancy
Related: Learn the symptoms of flu versus coronavirus, colds and allergies
For women who are pregnant and get the flu, it can turn into an emergency very quickly. Go to an emergency room immediately if you experience:
Related: Pregnancy and COVID-19
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