Volume 5 Issue 5

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What's a Pregnant Mom to Do? Aviva, first I must say I absolutely love you and your book "The Natural Pregnancy Book." I am now pregnant and faced with an important decision. In my job, I am required to get a flu shot, and I don't know if that's safe for pregnancy, or what I can do to refuse it. Can you help me clarify? Thank you. With Gra tude, J. Thank you, J! This is a mely ques on, and one that I suspect is on the minds of a lot of my pregnant readers now that we are entering flu season and this year's flu shot (9a combina on shot that provides protec on against H1N1 and seasonal flu) is available. Whether to vaccinate during pregnancy can be a tough decision to make. And, some employers, par cularly in the health professions, are strict about their employees ge ng vaccinated for flu. T h e T o p D o w n R e c o m m e n d at i o n s The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the two primary groups that issue recommenda ons to doctors caring for pregnant women, unequivocally recommend that all women who are pregnant during flu season – roughly October through the end of March – receive the flu vaccine unless they have a health contraindica on, such as a severe allergy to eggs since the vaccine contains egg proteins. ACOG has stated that "preven ng influenza during pregnancy is an essen al element of prenatal care, and the most effec ve strategy for preven ng influenza is annual immuniza on." Note that prior to 1995, the CDC did not recommend universally vaccina ng all pregnant women in any trimester; the recommenda on was to vaccinate only those pregnant women with pre- exis ng medical condi ons. The CDC and ACOG assert the following importance of vaccina ons in pregnancy: S Physiologic changes in pregnancy make pregnant women more suscep ble to the flu and to serious complica ons should flu occur, par cularly pneumonia. S Flu can lead to high fevers, and high fevers in the first trimester have been associated with an increased rate of birth defects. S Flu during pregnancy seems to increase the risks of miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight. S Babies are at high risk of complica ons from the flu, but cannot get vaccinated un l they are 6 months old. Babies born to pregnant women who have received the flu shot are less likely to develop flu and related complica ons. S Flu shots have not been shown to cause harm to mom or baby in any trimester. A r e t h e R i s ks o f F l u i n P r e g n a n cy R e a l ly t h at S e r i o u s ? Working in the hospital during the winter of 2009 was frightening. There was a new strain of flu going around and the medical community had no idea how bad it was going to be. The CDC and the media predicted a catastrophic epidemic with dire outcomes. I did, in fact, see two pregnant FLU VACCINE in Pregnancy What's a Pregnant Mom to Do? Abby's Magazine - Volume 5 Issue 5 | Page 43

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