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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