New Information from your Obstetrician–the Flu Shot and Pregnancy

September 27th, 2017 by Dr. Jimmy Sparks

From the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

“Influenza is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from influenza as well as hospitalizations and even death. Pregnant women with influenza also have a greater chance for serious problems for their unborn babies, including premature labor and delivery.

“The safety of vaccines used during pregnancy is of critical concern to ob-gyns. For many years, ACOG and the CDC have recommended that every pregnant woman receive a flu shot in any trimester. Multiple published studies, as well as clinical experience, have all supported the belief that the flu vaccine is safe and effective during pregnancy.

“A recent publication has reported a safety signal concerning influenza vaccination when given very early in the first trimester. In this study, influenza vaccination, when given in very early pregnancy, was associated with an increased risk of a pregnancy loss within the first 28 days following vaccination. Scientifically, it is unclear why this would occur. There was no association seen with a pregnancy loss more than 28 days after vaccination. In the same study, when vaccination was given either later in the first trimester or in the second or third trimester, there was no association seen with pregnancy loss or any other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Additional studies are needed to address the concern raised by this study.

“In evaluating all of the available scientific information, there is insufficient information to support changing the current recommendation which is to offer and encourage routine flu vaccinations during pregnancy regardless of the trimester of pregnancy.”

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“At this time, the CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have not changed the recommendation for influenza vaccination of pregnant women. It is recommended that pregnant women get a flu vaccine during any trimester of their pregnancy because flu poses a danger to pregnant women and a flu vaccine can prevent influenza in pregnant women.”

Your physicians at Sparks & Favor continue to offer and encourage our pregnant patients to receive the flu shot. This is the current recommendation of both the CDC and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. A mother’s flu shot can also provide flu protection for her newborn who cannot receive his or her own flu shot until 6 months of age.

We want to provide you with up-to-date scientific information and discuss your concerns so that you can make an informed choice.