Flu Shots Highly Recommended for Pregnant Women by Experts
Opinions on the flu vaccine are still divided, but certain populations are encouraged to get vaccinated this fall, especially pregnant women.
Experts encourage all expectant mothers to get a flu shot, and if any flu-like symptoms arise, they should seek medical help immediately. The mortality and complications of the flu during pregnancy are very serious. And these complications are not only harmful to the mother, but they can also affect her baby by causing premature labor, premature delivery and even death.
Pregnant women have a difficult time fighting off infections compared to others. This is because the hormonal changes in pregnancy can cause the immune system to perform at less-than-optimal function, which can have effects similar to those seen in people on chronic steroid medications. In addition, a particular hormone that changes during pregnancy called progesterone, causes swelling of the lining of the nose and oral pharynx. This makes a pregnant women more susceptible to contracting viruses which then quickly become infused into circulation.
Another problem is due to the changes in the breathing and lung function of pregnant women. As the diaphragm increases during pregnancy, overall breathing function is decreased. Because of this, having the flu and getting mucous in the lungs during pregnancy can cause serious breathing complications. What’s more, pregnant women need a higher amount of oxygen than non-pregnant women. An increased oxygen consumption is required because you’re now breathing for two!
The flu can infect a pregnant woman’s lungs with the flu, which might also lead to a secondary infection such as bacterial pneumonia, making oxygen delivery to both the mother and child a major problem and could even lead to death. If you’re pregnant and haven’t already gotten your flu shot, it’s highly recommended that you talk to your doctor right away – it’s important for the health of both you and your baby!