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4 things every pregnant woman (or soon-to-be pregnant woman) should know about the flu vaccine.

A lot of women question whether the flu vaccine is safe for their child.

 

 

As soon as those two little blue lines appear in front of you,your awareness of your own health cranks up a gear.

The excitement of pregnancy becomes a frenzy of self-awareness and being health wise. Organic fruit and veg, pregnancy yoga, prenatal vitamins. Coffee becomes the enemy.

Alcohol offers are met with a smile and yet a shake of the head. You become aware of everyday chemicals being used around you. You really try, don’t you, even if occasionally a cappuccino passes those ever smiling lips.

For every test you consult myriad websites to research, review and question exactly what you will be putting your unborn baby through.

But it is important. A mother’s health during pregnancy can affect that of her unborn child.

So you eat right, you exercise right and you get all the right vaccinations and medications.

Don’t you?

Do I sense a hesitation from some of you?

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by NSW Health. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

From all of the health awareness and information overload we get during pregnancy it strikes me as strange that there is one thing a lot of mums seem to put off, or not realise is vital for their baby’s health.

It is imperative that at the top of every mum-to-be’s to do list there should be, “updating whooping cough and flu vaccines.”

But a lot of women question whether the flu vaccine is safe for their child. It is hard to find up-to-date, relevant information about the safety and necessity of the vaccine.

According to the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance it is recommended that all pregnant women get immunised as early as possible in their pregnancy.

Does this surprise you?

It really shouldn’t.

Research shows that pregnant women are at increased risk of influenza-associated morbidity and mortality.

Surely that’s a big enough deal breaker to get the vaccine.

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But there is a side bargain you get in the process. You see the flu vaccine also protects your unborn baby from influenza for up to six-months after your baby is born.

In fact according to the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, “The rate of adverse events after vaccinating pregnant or breastfeeding women is no different to the rate in other people. In addition, there is no evidence that influenza vaccine causes any harm to mother or baby when administered to a pregnant woman.”

Oh and one more bonus for pregnant women – it’s free!

Every year we know that flu spreads widely in the community and it is difficult to predict the severity of each strain and the impact it may have.

The flu vaccine is safe for you and your child

So let’s take a quick look at the main questions pregnant women have about the flu vaccine?

1. Is it safe?

Yes, in fact studies have shown that the vaccine is not only safe for pregnant women but it actually protects mother and baby too. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced pregnant women as the highest priority for flu vaccination. If you have concerns speak to your GP/obstetrician.

2. How sick can I seriously get from the flu?

Really ridiculously stupidly sick (well stupidly if you can prevent it!) Influenza is a highly contagious, potentially fatal disease that is estimated to cause between 1,500 and 3,500 deaths annually. This is higher than the national road toll.

3. Won’t it just give me a dose of the flu?

No, it’s impossible – Urban myth alert. According to the NSW Health website, while some side effects may mimic the flu infection, Australian flu vaccines do not contain a live virus and so cannot cause you to get influenza.

4. How do I get the flu vaccine?

Your GP, your obstetrician or your midwife can advise you. Go now. Immediately! It’s getting cold out!

Most of us don’t hesitate to vaccinate our babies, so let’s apply the same amount of common sense to our own health, especially during pregnancy when what we do now is so very very important for the future health of our unborn baby.

Only one in five pregnant women in NSW are getting the free influenza vaccine despite being at high risk of severe illness.

Flu illness during pregnancy can be serious with an increased risk of hospitalisation, premature labour and low birth weight.

Vaccination during pregnancy is safe and effective and is strongly recommended for all pregnant women.

Better still, it benefits both mother and baby as protective antibodies are transferred across the placenta, protecting the baby for up to six months.

The flu vaccine is FREE for all pregnant women through the Immunise Australia Program and is available from your local GP.

Were you aware that all pregnant women should get the flu vaccine? Have you had yours yet? 

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