As an expecting mom, you have a million “to-do” lists. Pastel paint swatches and scribbled baby names cover the kitchen table as your mind swirls with baby preparation. TriHealth recognizes the importance (and struggle) of accomplishing peace of mind during pregnancy and encourages expecting mothers to take simple steps toward this such as receiving the flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated during pregnancy can help keep you and your baby healthy through delivery and even several months beyond.
Stephanie Manolis, DO, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at TriHealth Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology, encourages pregnant women to get the vaccination. She works with expecting moms every day at the Premier Obstetrics Glenway Avenue and Montgomery Road office locations and believes the vaccine is one simple step moms-to-be can take toward promoting a healthy pregnancy. “The flu vaccine is highly recommended for pregnant women since they are more susceptible to this illness due to the changes in their immune systems.” Dr. Manolis suggests contracting the flu can be more severe for women who are pregnant than those who are not.
Influenza during pregnancy not only causes more severe symptoms but increases chances for developing other infections and issues. Dr. Manolis said the flu is more likely to cause dehydration, respiratory compromise or secondary respiratory infections. She also said pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized for complications from respiratory issues than women who are not.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have conducted multiple studies to uncover any negative implications for pregnant women receiving the vaccine. These studies conclude it is safe for the vaccine to be received at any point during pregnancy, even the first trimester.
This year, it is even more important for pregnant women to be vaccinated given the rising number of influenza cases. Health experts are calling this flu season the worst in recent years. Although the 2017-2018 vaccine fights all strains of the flu, it lacks effectiveness against the H3N2 virus. Even if the flu is contracted, Dr. Manolis said the severity of the illness is lessened for those who have been vaccinated and encourages getting it regardless.
If you are expecting, you should avoid the nasal spray vaccination and instead be sure to get the shot since it does not contain active influenza while the nasal spray includes an attenuated version. Dr. Manolis also encourages anyone who will be in contact with you or your baby to get the vaccine given your susceptible immune systems.
Dr. Manolis said pregnant women should watch out for symptoms like high fevers, muscle aches, chest discomfort and cough. In the first 12-24 hours, Tamiflu can be taken. Although Tamiflu is not a cure for the flu, it does decrease the severity and duration of it. By following Dr. Manolis advice, we hope you’ll have more peace of mind this flu season.