According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza (flu) is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women of reproductive age who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization.
Flu also may be harmful for a pregnant woman’s developing baby, the CDC says. A common flu symptom is fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby. Getting vaccinated also can help protect a baby after birth from flu, because mom passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.
Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women over many years with a good safety record, the CDC reports. Many scientific studies supports the safety of flu vaccine in pregnant women and their babies.
To learn more, visit the CDC’s Flu Vaccine Safety and Pregnancy web page.