Whether or not to get the flu shot while pregnant

I’m undecided. I don’t know if I’ll get the flu shot while pregnant (**gasp!**). I’ve been thinking about this for some time now and have done a bit of research.

Today at a prenatal appointment with my family doctor, she asked me if I wanted to get the flu shot today (at 16 weeks) or at our next appointment at 20 weeks. I diverted the question by saying that I’m able to get the flu shot at work. She said that either way, it’s important for pregnant women to get the flu shot. That was it. I wasn’t going to raise my potential concerns with the flu shot as there’s no point. Nearly every doctor in Canada will push for their patients, especially those pregnant, to get the flu shot.


Reasons to get the flu shot:

1. to potentially avoid getting the flu

2. by not getting the flu I may avoid a) a high fever which isn’t good for baby  and b) complications for me from the flu such as pneumonia

3. It appears to be more socially accepted to get the flu shot while pregnant than to not

Reasons not to get the flu shot:

1. It’s 70-80% effective at most. so it’s not a guarantee that I won’t get the flu.

2. There hasn’t been enough research done on the effects of the flu shot on the developing fetus. There has been concerns that the mercury in many flu shots is not advisable for a tiny human’s developing brain.

3. Flu shots are not considered safe to babies who are under 6 months of age. Why then is it “safe” for a fetus to get a flu shot? I’ve read conflicting information, but it seems that the flu shot may pass the placenta to the fetus.

I’m just not sure what I’ll do. I’ve started polling friends I’ve been surprised to learn that many of them didn’t get the flu shot while pregnant.

I can update this post later with my decision. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on the topic! What do you think you’d do?

5 thoughts on “Whether or not to get the flu shot while pregnant”

  1. I agree with your reasons against getting it. One thing that Joel and I have come to realize that we are a fear driven society at times. We do things like flu shots, vaccines, mammograms, Tylenol even because we aren’t necessarily taught to help our immunes heal, we are taught to fear the disease. For me personally, whenever something is fear-based I tend to question it. I don’t think the flu shot is worth the potential health risks. The flu is the flu, if you get sick then you probably needed the rest anyway.

    1. Thanks for your comment Cassie! I find it totally ironic that after posting this, a lady knocked on my door and asked, “do you want the flu shot”? I said, “no thank you” since I’m undecided at this time. She was pushing a flu shot cart around the hospital! I’ve never seen that before.

  2. Can’t speak to pregnancy but I haven’t gotten the flu shot in over 5 years. My husband and I rarely get sick and if we do we seem to fight it off faster than those around us. I like to attribute it to healthy eating, vitamins and proper sleep. Self care goes a long way.

    1. Thanks for your comment! It’s good to hear from those who don’t get the flu shot and rarely get sick. I totally agree that self care goes a long way. And lots of hand washing 🙂

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