Docs warn about need of flu vaccine for pregnant women

Doctors have warned that getting a flu shot should be a routine part of prenatal care and a new report has revealed that among those pregnant women whose health care provider offered them a flu shot had the highest vaccination rates.

Washington: Doctors have warned that getting a flu shot should be a routine part of prenatal care and a new report has revealed that among those pregnant women whose health care provider offered them a flu shot had the highest vaccination rates.

Edward McCabe, MD, March of Dimes chief medical officer said that health care providers should offer their pregnant patients a flu shot each year and if they don't, then women should ask for it.

According to the report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant should receive a flu shot because the normal changes to a pregnant woman's immune system, heart and lungs put moms-to-be at increased risk of the harmful effects of flu infection.

The report also said that babies born to mothers who got their flu shot while pregnant were protected from serious illness from influenza during their first six months of life. They also had a lower risk of flu-related hospitalizations for chronic asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and other health-related problems.

The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age or older, including pregnant women, be vaccinated annually against the influenza virus.  

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