I just found out that I'm 6 weeks pregnant. I was scheduled to get the H1N1 flu vaccine, but now I'm not so sure it's a good idea. Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?
Not only is the H1N1 flu vaccine considered safe for pregnant women, it's recommended for them. That's because the changes that occur in a woman's body during pregnancy weaken the immune system a bit, making it easier for a woman to catch whatever bug is going around.
A pregnant woman who catches the flu (like H1N1 flu) has an increased risk of more health problems, like pneumonia, in addition to pregnancy-related complications, like pre-term labor. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that all pregnant women get vaccinated for the H1N1 flu and the seasonal flu.
But because the H1N1 vaccine is new, you might be worried about receiving it. However, experts agree that since the vaccine is so similar to the seasonal flu vaccine (which is recommended for pregnant women and considered safe) the side effects will probably be similar, too. They may include soreness or swelling at the site of the injection or mild side effects, such as headache or low-grade fever.
If you develop flu-like symptoms before you've been vaccinated against H1N1 flu, call your doctor right away. Pregnant women who catch the flu might need to take antiviral medicines to decrease the chances of developing complications.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: September 2009
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|H1N1 (Swine) Flu Website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC's site has up-to-date information on H1N1 (swine) flu outbreaks, symptoms, prevention, and more.|
|Immunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|Q&A: H1N1 Influenza Learn what the H1N1 flu is all about and how you can protect your family.|
|Caring for a Child With H1N1 Influenza Kids with H1N1 flu need rest, relaxation, and plenty of fluids, but they also have to be careful about avoiding the spread of germs.|
|Can Getting Immunizations Affect My Unborn Baby? Find out what the experts have to say...|
|Does the Seasonal Flu Shot Protect Against H1N1 Flu? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Pregnancy Precautions: FAQs Questions regarding what you can and can't do during pregnancy abound. Knowing what could truly be harmful to your baby versus what's no real cause for concern is key to keeping your sanity throughout the 40 weeks.|
|Is the Flu Vaccine a Good Idea for Your Family? The flu itself generally isn't dangerous, but its complications can be. That's why it's important for you and your doctor to determine whether your family can and should get the flu vaccine.|
|A Parent's Guide to H1N1 Influenza News coverage about H1N1 flu may have you worried, but there's no need to panic. Get the facts and learn how to keep your family safe.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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