The recommendation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is that all pregnant women, no matter what their trimester, get a flu shot. While the benefits of vaccinations are vast, expectant mothers are often cautious about what they put into their bodies during pregnancy. A new study shows receiving both the flu and tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis(Tdap) vaccines are safe for mothers and their babies.
The study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically studied the potential effects of vaccines received by expectant mothers on their babies. The study utilized data from Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) and included over 400,000 babies over a 10-year period. The research found, “no association between infant mortality and maternal influenza or Tdap.”
According to the March of Dimes, the flu puts expectant mothers at greater risk of complications like pneumonia. It could also possibly affect the health of the pregnancy. Pregnant women who’ve had the flu are more likely than pregnant women who didn’t go into pre-term labor. The high fever associated with flu could put your baby at risk for some birth defects, as well. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can pose additional risk to pregnant women. Complications from pertussis can include pneumonia or hernia.
The CDC recommends vaccines during pregnancy as the antibodies will be passed along to your baby. And while healthy adults can usually fight off the flu or pertussis, infants are most at risk. Babies don’t start building antibodies until they begin their own course of vaccinations around two months. In that very early stage, infants are susceptible to contracting flu or pertussis. Complications for infants that contract flu or pertussis are more severe and can include pneumonia, seizures and even brain damage.
Both the flu and pertussis are highly contagious and the recommended prevention for both is a vaccination. The CDC and ACOG recommend all pregnant mothers be vaccinated to protect themselves and their babies. This study confirms the recommended vaccines are safe for babies and moms alike.