Clinical Trials: Despite all the awareness about flu prevention, pregnant women aren’t heeding the call.
“We recommend that all pregnant women get vaccinated against the flu. Traditionally we haven’t been very good at giving it to pregnant women,” says Dr. Christina Cavanagh, who is a family physician with Lee Memorial Health System.
Vaccination rates hover around 50% even though getting the flu during this vulnerable period could be dangerous for both baby and mom.
“Pregnant women we know are at much higher risk of getting complications from the flu. They can develop pneumonia, a higher rate of being hospitalized and even death from flu,” says Dr. Cavanagh.
As pregnant moms know, whatever they eat, baby eats. Whatever they drink, baby drinks. The same holds true with the flu shot.
“It takes several months for the baby’s immune system to really develop their own protection so those first few months they’re reliant on any antibodies that they’ve gotten from mom prior to delivery,” says Dr. Cavanagh.
Last month the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement encouraging expectant moms to give the vaccination a shot.
“Most women know that they’re obstetricians are looking out for their best interest and that of their baby’s. And if we can tell them how important we think it is to protect them and their babies, then I hope they will listen to that,” says Dr. Cavanagh.
Flu season can span from September through February. The best time to get vaccinated is early in the season, regardless of trimester.