Each year, flu shots are available for administration by August or September. However, if you are pregnant and have not yet had your flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports vaccines given in January may still offer protection against influenza.
It takes approximately two weeks for the antibodies that protect against the flu virus to fully develop oncethe vaccine has been administered. Since seasonal flu activity typically peaks in January, vaccines given late in the season may still offer protection against influenza.
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing flu complications, due to changes that occur in the immune system during pregnancy. Having the flu also increases the risk of preterm labor and delivery.
The flu vaccine is considered safe for pregnant women, and there is no scientific evidence that flu vaccines cause autism in children born to women that take them, even if they contain thimerosal.
Side effects from the flu vaccine are usually mild and include soreness at the injection site and low-grade fever. Most side effects dissipate within a day or two.
If you are pregnant and get the flu, talk with your OBGYN about taking an antiviral medication. This can shorten the flu course and reduce the severity of symptoms.