The Flu Shot And Pregnancy – What You Need To Know 2022/2023

Fall is here and with the cooler weather comes the inevitable & dreaded Flu season.  

Yay us. 

The past couple years, the flu season has not been as severe due to COVID protocols. However, with us interacting more, it is not the time to be cavalier and downplay the effects of the flu on you and your future baby. The CDC, the WHO, family physicians, and us, your fertility doctors here at IRMS, are all urging you to get your flu shot. 

Here’s 5 Good Reasons to get the Flu Shot if you are pregnant or trying to conceive:

1. Influenza is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women of reproductive age who are not pregnant. [1]

Once pregnant, your body will be going through a lot of changes. Changes to your heart, lungs, and ever important, immune system. This will make you much more susceptible to severe complications from the flu and increased risk of hospitalization.

2. The flu may be harmful to your developing baby.

The CDC, in collaboration with Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University undertook a study that showed women who displayed having a fever before or during early pregnancy were twice more likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect. [2]

What about Folic Acid to reduce birth defects you ask? Yes, folic acid can help mitigate the effects of a fever and lessen the chances of birth defects but shouldn’t be a substitute for getting your flu shot. They should work in tandem to create a healthy, pregnant, beautiful you. You can read our blog on the benefits of folic acid for further insight on this B vitamin.

3. The Flu Vaccine Helps Your Baby After Birth

By getting vaccinated you can pass wonderfully important antibodies to your developing baby while pregnant, thus adding a layer of protection against the flu for your baby after it is born. Remember a newborn cannot get the vaccine until at least 6 months old.

4. Fever From the Flu can Lower Sperm Counts

Guys we haven’t forgotten you. For the guys out there trying to conceive, getting a high fever from the flu has shown to negatively impact sperm production up to 2- 3 months after the fever occurred. Which is in the ballpark of how long it takes for sperm to mature.

5. The COVID-19 Overlap

Another important reason to get the vaccine is that flu season will overlap with our battle with COVID-19. Yes, we still have COVID around. With summer over and most of us here in New Jersey and New York moving indoors, there is concern that increased infection rates with Flu & COVID patients will impact the healthcare we can provide. The CDC is banking that the COVID surge hopefully won’t be as bad as previous years, but certainly by getting your flu shot – you are not only protecting yourself from the flu but you are protecting your loved ones and the community at large.

“Every year it’s important to get your flu shot to minimize your risk. So, to take a page from Nike, JUST DO IT! Flu shots are often free or fully covered by your insurance. Get it now!”
— Debbra A. Keegan, MD – Clinical Director at IRMS

Differences Between the Flu Shot Versus the Flu Nasal Spray

If pregnant, it is vitally important you get the flu shot and not the nasal mist as per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advice.

The flu shot contains a form of the flu virus that is inactivated. It cannot cause disease. The shot can be given to pregnant women at any time during pregnancy. A live, attenuated influenza vaccine is available as a nose spray. The nose spray vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. However, it is safe for women after they have given birth, including those who are breastfeeding.[3]

Hopefully our case has been made, and you are going to get your flu shot this flu season! If you are still hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, we urge you to talk to your doctor and visit our blog on how it can protect you! The good news is that the CDC & ACOG say that it is safe to take both vaccines at the same time!

We are here for you on any questions you may have on your fertility journey. You can reach out to us at 973.548.9900 or drop us a line through our website contact form, chat widget or any of our social platforms.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/qa_vacpregnant.htm

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/qa_vacpregnant.htm

[3] https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/the-flu-vaccine-and-pregnancy


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