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Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Information for Women Who are Pregnant, Who will be Pregnant During Flu Season, or Who are Breastfeeding

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Seasonal flu refers to common flu viruses that typically emerge between November/December and March/April, which is known as “flu season.” For women who are pregnant, who will be pregnant during flu season, or who are breastfeeding, vaccine and medication use for preventing/treating seasonal flu differs from vaccine and medication use specific to H1N1 flu. For more information on H1N1 flu, please see the Current H1N1 Flu Information.

The information below should not be considered a substitute for your health care provider’s advice. Your health care provider is in the best position to provide specific health recommendations for you and your family.

Women Who Are Pregnant or Who Will Be Pregnant During Flu Season

Seasonal Flu Vaccine Information

  • Should I get a seasonal flu vaccine?
    Yes. The CDC recommends that pregnant women and women who will be pregnant during flu season be vaccinated against seasonal flu with the inactivated flu virus vaccine (flu shot): http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm.
  • Is the inactivated seasonal flu vaccine safe to get during pregnancy?
    Yes.
    • The inactivated flu virus vaccine is considered safe during any stage of pregnancy and has not been associated with the development of adverse outcomes in infants. Ideally, pregnant women should not receive live-virus vaccinations (such as the nasal-spray flu vaccine) during pregnancy because of potential risk to the fetus. (Zamen, K., et al. 2008. Effectiveness of maternal influenza immunization in mothers and infants. New England Journal of Medicine, Oct 9;359(15):1555-64.)
    • The CDC offers a question-and-answer publication about inactivated flu virus vaccine: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-flu.pdf. (PDF - 60 KB)
  • Where can I get more information on vaccines and pregnancy?

Seasonal Flu Anti-Viral Medication Information

Women Who Are Breastfeeding

Seasonal Flu Vaccine Information

  • Should I get a seasonal flu vaccine?
    Yes.
    • Currently, the CDC recommends the seasonal flu vaccine for all persons who come in close contact with children younger than 5 years of age, including women who are breastfeeding: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5707a1.htm?s_cid=rr5707a1_e.
    • According to the CDC’s Advice for Caregivers of Children Younger than Six Months Old, the number one way to safeguard infants younger than 6 months of age is for the adults who come in contact with them to be vaccinated against seasonal flu—this includes women who are breastfeeding: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/infantcare.htm.
  • Are seasonal flu vaccines safe to get when breastfeeding?
    The CDC indicates that either the inactivated-virus vaccine or live-virus vaccine is safe for women who are breastfeeding: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/downloads/f_preg_chart.pdf. (PDF - 300 KB)

Seasonal Flu Anti-Viral Medication Information

Again, if you have any questions about these issues, please consult your health care provider. For more information on H1N1 flu, please see the Current H1N1 Flu Information.

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Last Updated Date: 11/01/2011
Last Reviewed Date: 11/01/2011
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