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Pregnant Women

Changes to a pregnant woman’s immune system can make her more sensitive to the flu. You should get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available in your area.

  • The flu shot is the only flu vaccine approved for pregnant women. You should not get the nasal spray.
  • If you get the flu shot during your pregnancy it will provide some protection to your baby after he or she is born.
  • Once the baby is born, breastfeeding will help your baby stay healthy, especially during flu season.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.

Why does being pregnant put me at higher risk for getting the flu?

Changes to your immune system during pregnancy can make you more prone to severe illness from flu. This can result in serious problems for your unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery. Additionally, fever in early pregnancy can lead to birth defects.

How can I protect myself and my unborn child from the flu?

Get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available in your area. You will need to get the flu shot. The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. If you get the flu shot during your pregnancy, research shows it provides some protection to your baby both while you are pregnant and after the baby is born.

In addition, follow our everyday steps to keep you and your baby healthy this flu season.

How can I protect my baby once he or she is born?

Breastfeeding women can get either the flu shot or the nasal spray form of the vaccine. Breastfeeding protects babies because breast milk passes your antibodies to your baby. The antibodies in breast milk help fight off infection. This is especially important for infants younger than 6 months old, since they are too young to be vaccinated. Studies show that babies who are breastfed do not get as sick and are sick less often than babies who are not breastfed.

If you get the flu, do not stop breastfeeding. Unless directed by your health care provider, continue to nurse your baby while being treated for the flu.

If I have the flu, what should I do?

If you get flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. If necessary, your health care provider will prescribe an antiviral medicine that treats the flu. If you have a fever you should take Tylenol® (or the store brand equivalent).

In addition, follow our treatment recommendations.

When should I get emergency care?

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • High fever
  • Decreased or no movement by your baby

Related Links

Breastfeeding: Why Breastfeeding is Important

Pregnant Women Need a Flu Shot

Pregnancy and Influenza Vaccine Safety

Seasonal Flu Vaccine Safety and Pregnant Women

Flu Vaccination: A Growing Trend among Pregnant Women