I am pregnant, do I need to have the flu jab?
Having the flu jab can stop you catching the flu and it is advised by the NHS that all pregnant women take up the offer of a free NHS flu vaccination. During pregnancy your immune system is weakened and more likely to catch infections than usual, having the jab will not only protect you but your unborn baby as well (www.nhs.uk).
There are many myths around pregnant women getting the flu jab.
According to the NHS women who have the flu jab during their pregnancies pass on protection to their babies.
The flu jab is safe and can be taken at any point during pregnancy. Vaccination should be taken every year (if eligible) as each year the vaccination differs based on the strains of flu.
Problems related to flu during pregnancy include your baby being born prematurely or being a low weight at birth. In serious cases, it can even lead to stillbirth. Flu can be fatal for new-born babies.
I addition, expectant mums who get flu are at risk of getting serious complications, such as bronchitis, which can then develop into pneumonia. They might also be more susceptible to ear and blood infections, which can lead to septic shock, as well as meningitis or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Wrongly, many women believe the vaccine can cause flu , but this is a myth as the vaccine does not contain any live viruses so it can not cause flu, it can however trigger an immune response from your body – which is where the mild symptoms can appear from, but unlike the flu – these will disappear in a day or two.
Flu symptoms can come on suddenly and are more severe than a normal cough.
You may experience:
- A high temperature of 38⁰C or more
- Feeling feverish or chills
- Aches & pains
- Headaches/chesty cough
- Stomach pains/upset stomach
Pregnant women can have the flu vaccine from September until January or February each year. The NHS strongly advises pregnant women at any stage of their pregnancy to have the vaccine. Talk to your GP, midwife or practice nurse for more information.
You can book your free flu jab using the myGP app, simply log on and book an appointment with your nurse at a click of a button, no waiting in line for someone to answer the phone.
If you don’t have the myGP app it is free to download from the Google Play or Apple App stores.