Health Experts are Urging Pregnant Women to Get Flu Jabby Laura Driver
Health experts are urging all pregnant women to take up the offer of a free flu jab as soon as possible to help protect themselves and their babies. Anyone working in maternity departments is being given the same message. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives say the vaccination is even more important this year because of Covid-19. Pregnancy can change the way the body responds to viral infections, and in rare cases, flu can have very serious consequences.
Why are pregnant women advised to have the flu vaccine?
The flu jab will help protect both you and your baby. There is good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. If you have flu while you're pregnant, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely or have a low birthweight and may even lead to stillbirth or death.
Is the flu vaccine safe in pregnancy?
Yes. Studies have shown that it's safe to have the flu vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives. It's safe for women who are breastfeeding to have the vaccine.
When should I have the flu jab?
The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, before flu starts circulating. If you've missed this time, you can have the flu vaccine later in the winter although it's best to get it earlier. Do not worry if you find that you're pregnant later in the flu season – you can have the vaccine then if you have not already had it.
How do I get the flu vaccine?
Contact your midwife or GP surgery to find out where you can get the flu vaccine. It's a good idea to get vaccinated as soon as possible after the vaccine becomes available in September. In some areas, midwives can give the flu vaccine at the antenatal clinic. In others, you will need an appointment at a GP surgery.