It is that time of year again where the weather gets colder, sweaters and boots come back into fashion, and the news gets obsessed with pumpkin spice everything. That’s right! Flu season!
I know, “I got one last year! Shouldn’t one be enough?” Unfortunately no. The flu virus mutates so quickly through the population that we need a new flu shot every year. Especially if you are pregnant. During pregnancy your immune system is suppressed, which is great for allowing your baby to grow, but can leave you at risk for the flu and it’s complications. To prevent the flu, pregnant women should be vaccinated. Pregnant women are one of the most vulnerable groups for the flu; along with the elderly, young children, and those with existing medical conditions.
Women who get the flu during pregnancy are more likely to have complications such as preterm labor and preterm birth, more likely to progress to pneumonia, more likely to be hospitalized than if they were not pregnant, and have a higher risk of death from the flu. The flu is much nastier than a simple cold. It can come on suddenly and may lead to symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, coughing, and/or a sore throat.
The flu shot is an inactive form of the virus that cannot cause disease but helps your immune system create antibodies to attack the flu virus. The flu shot is considered safe for any trimester in pregnancy. As an added bonus the antibodies created by your immune system are transferred to your baby so it can help protect your baby against the flu as well. Until 6 months of age, babies have very minimal immune function outside of what they get from their mothers at birth. The flu shot can also be given at the same time as the Tdap vaccine so our patients around 28 weeks pregnant can get both done in one appointment!
Here at El Camino Women’s Medical Group we offer the flu shot! Your physician will most likely recommend it for you at your next appointment since it is best to get vaccinated for the flu by the end of October. However you can get the flu shot later on. We carry the FluBlok vaccine: it’s preservative free, gelatin free and does not contain any egg related products.
If you are pregnant, recently were pregnant, or gave birth 2 weeks ago or less and you have come into contact with someone who has the flu contact your physician. If you have contact before you are vaccinated or in the first two weeks after the shot, you are at risk for contracting the flu. If you start to experience symptoms of the flu let us know as well so your physician can decide if antivirals to help reduce symptoms and complications is best for you.
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also a graduate of the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship at Stanford University, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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