ACOG Releases New Guidelines for Flu Shots During Pregnancy

With these recommendations in mind, maybe next year's flu season won't be as bad.
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By Anisa Arsenault, Associate Editor
Published April 23, 2018
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We are finally in the clear—the horror that was the 2017/2018 flu season is technically over. In light of the fact that a rare A-strain called H2N2, followed by a resurgence of a B-strain, dominated flu season, health organizations are already looking into vaccine guidelines for next year. And they have some recommendations for pregnant women, in particular.

First thing’s first: Pregnant woman are encouraged to get a flu shot. That’s the bottom line from the latest Committee Opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they’ve released a slew of recommendations for flu shots during pregnancy. Take a look:

  • Pregnant women or women that may become pregnant during flu season should receive an inactivated version of the vaccine as soon as it becomes available
  • Ob-gyns should advocate for flu shots during pregnancy and explain the safety and benefits of shots to moms-to-be
  • Ob-gyns should stock and administer flu shots in their offices. If that’s not possible, they should refer patients to another healthy care provider or pharmacy
  • Ob-gyns should strongly encourage their office staff to be vaccinated
  • Whether or not they’ve been vaccinated, patients with flu-like symptoms should be treated with antiviral medications
  • If a pregnant woman or woman who is 2 weeks postpartum has been exposed to the flu, they should receive a treatment called post-exposure antiviral chemoprophylaxis

ACOG also outlines provisions for pregnant women with egg allergies, which can give people pause about getting a vaccine.

“Individuals with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg can receive any licensed and recommended influenza vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health status,” the recommendations read. “In the case of allergic symptoms more serious than hives, the vaccine should be administered in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting (including, but not necessarily limited to hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices).”

While we’re (thankfully) a ways away from having to think about flu season again, this information is especially important for anyone who will be pregnant between November and March. And if you’ll be a new mom by then, remember, all babies over 6 months should get a flu shot too.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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