Skip the Flu Shot Pregnancy Myth

The truth is just the opposite. “Flu vaccination is very important,” said Nancy Chescheir, a clinical professor of maternal/fetal medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Some pregnant women worry that the vaccine might give them the flu, while others fret that preservatives in the vaccine may hurt their unborn baby. In fact, the flu injection won’t give women the flu, nor is there any evidence that flu vaccine harms fetuses, according to Chescheir.

Instead, a flu shot can be a lifesaver for mother and baby. Pregnancy alters a woman’s immune system, heart and lungs, making her more vulnerable to getting a severe case of flu. “Women who are pregnant and come down with the flu do not tolerate it well and have a much higher risk of becoming extremely sick and a higher risk of dying from the flu than the general population,” Chescheir said.

Get the flu shot (containing killed virus), not the nasal spray vaccine (containing weakened, live virus). If you’re worried about preservatives, seek out a thimerosal-free flu shot. Don’t risk your health or the health of your baby.