Flu Vaccines for Pregnant Women Also Help the Baby November 14, 2016 By Josh Martinez Leave a Comment Expectant mothers looking to stay free from the flu don’t have to worry. Not only is the flu shot safe for pregnant women, but it can even help the baby. When the mother received a flu vaccine during pregnancy, the baby was 70 percent less likely to catch the virus, according to a study published in May. For years many feared the vaccine’s safety for pregnant women. But the ingredients are harmless for pregnant women just as they are for everyone else. The small amount of ethylmercury in the shot didn’t show any adverse effects for the baby. Unless the woman has a severe egg allergy, the protein in a vaccine should also be safe. Plus, egg-free vaccines are available. Immunizing pregnant women is becoming increasingly common. This may even be the best way to keep your newborn from contagious diseases. The method of cocooning was the most popular way to keep disease from a newborn baby. Cocooning encourages everyone around the baby to receive boosters and vaccines shortly before the birth. This would create a protective group around the newborn and keeping contagious diseases away. Cocooning is most commonly employed using the Tdap vaccine to prevent whooping cough. Babies are at the greatest risk with this infection, sending half of those infected for a stay in the hospital. Although cocooning is still recommended, the baby is still without crucial antibodies. Babies six months or younger do not have enough antibodies to protect from the illness in response to the vaccine. A Tdap vaccine for expectant mothers solves this problem, bringing antibodies to the placenta. The flu vaccine acts on this same principle. Placenta houses the antibodies, but the study showed that the vaccine needs to be administered earlier to have a full effect. The start of the third trimester is the ideal time for pregnant women to get the flu vaccine. This allows the needed time for the baby and mother to create antibodies that prevent the virus. But as is the case with many immunizations, the vaccine’s effects will wear down over time. The antibodies are most effective during the first eight weeks of pregnancy. Chances of the baby catching the virus will increase over the next few months until they can receive their own vaccine. Parents should still take normal flu season measures before and after birth for the best chance to avoid the virus. Trying to get ahead of the flu season with a vaccine? Call Passport Health at 480-345-6800 or book an appointment online. Do you have any questions about the flu vaccine and its effects? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter and Facebook.