Flu shot during pregnancy protects newborn babies

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies

For a decade, the CDC has recommended that pregnant women get a flu shot, because pregnancy can affect the immune system and because the flu can be dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn babies. Still, the vast majority of pregnant women don't. Recent research, however, may give expectant moms one more reason to roll up their sleeves and immunize themselves against the flu.

In a study that followed 340 mothers and infants, researchers found that getting a flu shot not only protects a new mother from the flu, but that newborn babies get some protection as well. Babies whose mothers got the shot were 63% less likely to acquire a lab-confirmed case of the flu. Babies under 6 months are at risk of complications from the disease, and are too young to get a shot themselves.

October is the beginning of flu shot season, so if you and your doctor agree that getting vaccinated is right for you -- pregnant or not -- now is the time to be thinking about it. Besides pregnant women, the CDC also recommends that children ages 6 months to 19 years, people over 50, any person with a chronic health condition, those who live in nursing homes, and those who live or care for high-risk patients get their flu shot every year.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.