-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women should
get a flu shot to protect themselves and even their newborn from
the flu, experts say.
Pregnancy increases the risk of serious complications of flu,
such as bacterial pneumonia and dehydration, according to the March
Not only does getting vaccinated offer protection from the flu
for moms-to-be, the vaccine can also confer protection to the baby
once it's born, said Dr. Alan Fleischman, March of Dimes medical
"The flu vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective. As an added bonus, during pregnancy, mothers pass on their immunity, protecting babies in those early months of life," said Fleischman in a March of Dimes news release. "We urge all pregnant women, and women who expect to become pregnant, to get their influenza immunization because the flu poses a serious risk of illness and even death during pregnancy."
During pregnancy, normal changes to women's immune system, heart
and lungs make them more vulnerable to the dangerous complications
of the flu. One out of every 20 deaths in 2009 from H1N1 was a
Despite this increased risk, only half of all expectant mothers
received the vaccination during last year's flu season, according
to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pregnant women can take additional steps to protect themselves
from the flu by:
The March of Dimes noted that anyone who lives with a pregnant
woman or has regular close contact with one should also be
immunized. The group also advised that any expectant mothers who
experience flu-like symptoms seek medical attention right away.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on
the flu and pregnant women.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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