Influenza (Flu) for Ob-Gyns
Neither CDC nor ACOG recommend one type of flu vaccine. All influenza vaccines available are recommended for use in pregnant women, with the exception of the live intranasal vaccine.
There have been no reports of any adverse outcomes in pregnant women or their infants. Thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in multidose vials, has not been shown to cause any adverse effects except for occasional local skin reactions. There is no scientific evidence that thimerosal-containing vaccines cause adverse effects in children born to women who received vaccines with thimerosal. Hence, ACIP does not indicate a preference for thimerosal-containing or thimerosal-free vaccines for any group, including pregnant women (Committee Opinion #468).
All flu vaccines are either pregnancy category B or C. These are categories assigned by the FDA. Pregnancy Category B means that tests in animals have failed to demonstrate adverse effects on the fetus, however sufficient testing in pregnant women has not been conducted. Pregnancy Category C means that animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women.
However, despite these categories influenza vaccines are still recommended by CDC because millions of doses have been given to pregnant women with no adverse events occurring.
General Influenza (Flu) Resources from ACOG and CDC:
See the College’s Committee Opinion on Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy.
Please see our Resource area for a listing of Provider Materials.
About Seasonal Flu:
Seasonal influenza (flu) vaccination is the most important way of preventing seasonal influenza virus infections and potentially severe complications, including death. Seasonal influenza vaccination reduces the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza or transmitting influenza to others.
The most effective strategy for preventing seasonal influenza (flu) is annual immunization.The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) now recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older get vaccinated annually for seasonal influenza (flu). This is especially important among high-risk groups, including pregnant women, older people, young children and newborns, and people with chronic illnesses. The influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children as well as postpartum and breastfeeding women and can be given during any trimester. Pregnant women are at increased risk for serious illness and death from the flu. Immunizing pregnant and postpartum women against seasonal influenza can protect the mother and may help her baby by preventing the spread of the flu from mother to child following delivery.
Certain people, including pregnant women, young children, older people, and people with certain long-term health conditions, are at greater risk for serious illness or death from the flu. It is very important for individuals at high risk of developing flu related complications receive the flu vaccine. Individuals in this group include:
Last Updated: 8/25/14
Influenza (Flu) for Patients
Influenza (Flu) Resources
View key 2013-2014 seasonal influenza resources, both from our site and the CDC, below:
There are many steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from the flu. The first and most important step is to get a flu shot. The best way to avoid the flu is getting the vaccine.
Attention pregnant women! Pregnant women, their unborn babies, and newborns have a higher risk of serious illness and complications from the flu. Protect yourself and your baby by getting a flu shot as soon as possible. The CDC and the College recommend that pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester. Also, if you become ill while pregnant do not wait to contact your health care provider. You may need to start antiviral treatment (such as Tamiflu) to help prevent more serious illness.
The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children. It can be given during any trimester. It is also safe after delivery and for breastfeeding women. Pregnant women are at increased risk for serious illness and death from the flu. Getting the flu vaccine can protect the mother and her baby. It can also prevent the spread of the flu from mother to child after delivery.
Seasonal influenza (flu) is a virus that spreads easily among people. It is most common between October and May. Some people can become seriously ill or die if they get the virus. Getting a vaccine is the best way to prevent getting seasonal influenza virus infection. Vaccination also prevents spreading flu to others.
Most people who get infected with flu virus become ill. For some people, this infection can be more serious or even life threatening.The best way to avoid getting flu infection is by getting a vaccine each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older get the yearly flu vaccine. This is especially important among high-risk groups, including pregnant women, older adults, young children and newborns, and people with long-term illnesses.
Last Updated: 2/20/2014