Published on January 10, 2013

Pregnant women susceptible to flu: Doctor recommends they get flu shot

WJXT Channel 4

Pregnant women are among the groups considered the most vulnerable for catching the flu.

A flu shot may not provide full protection, but doctors say something is definitely better than nothing.

Amanda Anderson is pregnant with her second child, and she got the flu vaccine.

"I was a little bit concerned to get it originally, but Dr. (Paul) Rebenack told me all the benefits and how they really outweighed the risks, and I'm really glad I did now because of the extreme outbreak of the flu this year," Anderson said.

Rebenack, an OBGYN, says pregnant women should get the flu shot.

"Pregnant women seem to be hospitalized at a higher proportion than non-pregnant women, and the mortality rate seems to be higher in pregnant women, so they get much sicker than someone who's not pregnant," Rebenack said.

He said it's also important for those who are pregnant to get vaccinated to protect the health of their baby, because the antibodies in a pregnant woman's system will crossover in the breast milk to the baby.

"Babies can't be immunized for the first six months of life for influenza, so this gives them that protective six-month window, so it's very beneficial for the baby," Rebenack said.

Anderson had doubts.

"Just my concerns were just that I would get the flu or it would be harmful for the baby not to have one," she said.

But Rebenack said that's not the case.

"The biggest difficulty we have in the flu vaccine is pregnant women are just very worried that it will be transmitted to the baby, and you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine," he said.

That's comforting news to Anderson, who finds out next month if she's having another boy or a girl.

"Especially this year, there's been so much of an outbreak, I'm glad knowing that we already have it, both of us have been vaccinated this year and we're covered," she said.

The only reason pregnant women may not want to get the vaccine is if they've had an allergic reaction to it in the past or if they are currently sick. It's best to wait until they're feeling better.

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