Flu is dangerous during pregnancy and can lead to:
- premature birth
- lower birth weight
If you are pregnant, you should get the flu vaccine. You can get it for free from your GP surgery or pharmacy.
You'll get the Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (QIV).
Why you should get the flu vaccine
The flu vaccine can protect your baby from flu until they are 6 months old. It can also prevent you from getting flu and passing it on to your baby.
Dr Maeve Eogan, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, talks about why you should get the flu vaccine if you are pregnant.
The flu vaccine is very safe for pregnant women and their babies. It has been given to millions of pregnant women. In the US it has been given to women for almost 60 years.
When to get the flu vaccine
The flu vaccine is available from October to the end of April each year.
You can get the vaccine at any point in your pregnancy. But try to get it as early in your pregnancy as you can.
If you were pregnant during last year's flu season and got the flu vaccine, you'll still need to get this season's flu vaccine.
After the vaccine, you may have some mild side effects.
These may include:
- soreness, redness or swelling where you got the injection
- fever (high temperature - 38 degrees Celsius or above)
- mild sweating and shivering
- feeling tired
If you feel any of these side effects, take paracetamol and rest. Paracetamol is safe to take during pregnancy. It will help you and your baby avoid a fever.
Do not take ibuprofen unless advised by your obstetrician.
Reactions are generally mild and serious side effects such as severe allergic reactions are very rare. Your GP or pharmacist is trained to deal with this.
If you are unwell after the vaccine, talk to your GP. Do not assume that it is the side effects from the vaccine.