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Why you shouldn’t miss a flu shot during pregnancy?

Getting a flu shot will help you keep influenza at bay. © Shutterstock.

The flu shot or influenza vaccine is given only after completion of the 3rd month of pregnancy or after the completion of the first trimester.

A flu shot during pregnancy can be termed as a smart move. Yes, that's right! It is absolutely safe to get it if you are a mummy-to-be. This vaccination will not only protect the mother but even the baby as well. Getting a flu shot will help you keep influenza, that is flu, at bay and avoid dangerous complications like pneumonia. So, don't miss that shot during pregnancy.

Are you a would-be-mother? Haven't thought of taking a flu shot yet? Then, it is the right time to consult your doctor and take it. Influenza (flu) can invite severe illness in pregnant mothers particularly because pregnant mothers' immunity is lesser when compared to the ones who aren't. While good immunity will cause no sickness or a mild flu, the reduced immunity in pregnant mothers' can make them require hospitalization and make them fall prey to serious complications. Therefore, the need for a vaccine to not just protect pregnant mothers but also to protect their unborn babies.

Now, one would wonder, as to how does it protect the babies, even before they are born? When the mother receives the flu vaccine, the protective defense mechanism develops in the mother in the form of antibodies. These antibodies cross the placenta and thus the baby has its defense mechanism ready too.

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Regarding the safety of the flu vaccine, it has been tested for a long time and is found to be absolutely safe.

Where to get a flu shot?

You can take a flu shot at the hospital under the supervision of your obstetrician/ gynaecologist. Pregnant women have been put on the top list of getting flu shots. Hence, it will be hassle-free. There are two forms of the flu or influenza vaccine - Nasal spray and Injectable. Only the injectable form is permitted in the pregnant woman. Nasal spray is absolutely not recommended for pregnant mothers.

When is the right time to get a flu shot?

The flu shot or influenza vaccine is given only after completion of the 3rd month of pregnancy or after the completion of the first trimester.

Kindly Note: You must know that the flu shot will not be able to protect you from Covid-19.

(This article is written by Dr Rajeshwari Pawar, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, Pune.)

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