The annual flu season is from October to May. Women who are pregnant during this time are strongly encouraged to receive their annual influenza vaccine. Pregnancy alters a woman’s immune system, making her more sensitive to the flu. Having the flu during pregnancy creates health risks for the unborn baby and increases the chances of premature labor and delivery. The high fevers associated with the flu can also lead to birth defects.
Being pregnant is no excuse to skip your flu shot. By getting the influenza vaccine in pregnancy, a mother can transfer the antibodies to her baby. This protection can be further extended by breastfeeding the baby after birth.