The Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

If you’re pregnant, recent news reports about a study linking the flu vaccine to an increased risk of miscarriage may have you thinking about skipping the shot this year.

Don’t. Public health officials, including the national Centers for Disease Control and the American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, continue to urge pregnant women to get vaccinated against the flu.

Here’s why:

  • The study is small and inconclusive. Its lead researchers say the findings do not prove that the flu shot causes miscarriage.

  • Earlier studies have found no link between the vaccine and miscarriage, and millions of pregnant women have had flu vaccines over many years without incident.

  • Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make an expectant mom more prone to severe illness with the flu, and that can affect the health of her developing baby.

The study, published in the journal Vaccine in September 2017found that, among a small group of pregnant women vaccinated against the flu during the 2010–’11 and 2011–’12 flu seasons, those who had the vaccine both years were more likely to suffer a miscarriage within 28 days of immunization.

Ongoing research is looking into whether this was also true for women vaccinated in later years (2012–2015), and more findings are expected in 2018 or 2019.

In the meantime, the influenza vaccine is currently the most effective protection against the flu virus. Talk with your healthcare provider about any concerns you have regarding the flu vaccine and your pregnancy.

More about the study, and why the flu vaccine is so important during pregnancy.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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