By Effie Koustas, MSPT
With flu season upon us, many question whether the flu shot is beneficial. This time, you are wondering IF you should consider it, now that you found out you are pregnant! Although there are pros and cons, it is up to you to make the best possible decision for you and your baby.
The reason is if you become ill with influenza (a.k.a. the flu) when you’re pregnant, you’re at higher risk of having serious complications. This includes pneumonia which could land you in the hospital. During pregnancy your immune system is suppressed to allow your baby to grow. As a result, you are more susceptible to the flu, which in addition increases chances of premature birth, low birth weight and miscarriage. The flu shot not only protects you, it also provides protection to your baby up until 6 months of age. More importantly, the earlier you get the flu shot in the season, the better protection it will provide you.
In addition to getting the flu shot, there are other precautions you can take. Sleeping 8 hours a night is recommended, so that as the mom you can get the rest you need during this time. Getting adequate sleep will help strengthen your immune system and help decrease any other pregnancy related pains. Eating well and exercise are advised as part of any healthy routine, especially during pregnancy. Lastly, hand washing during flu season is priority. Winter months during pregnancy can be difficult, however taken the above precautions can be very advantageous.