Needles might make you dread the flu vaccine, but the risks you leave yourself exposed to should make you fear not getting it more. A flu vaccine protects you against various types of influenza. Furthermore, a flu vaccine protects you and your child against the flu and possible resulting complications. The Safe Birth Project recommends that you get your flu vaccine right away as it can keep you safe while saving your baby from a potential birth injury.
Why You Should Get the Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is an injection used to protect you against influenza B and influenza A viruses (H1N1) as well as influenza A viruses (H3N2). Flu vaccine types range from a trivalent flu vaccine (three components) to a quadrivalent flu vaccine (four components). You are more likely to contract a severe illness from the flu while pregnant compared to non-pregnant women, making a flu vaccine a necessity.
Because your immune system, heart, and lungs experience changes during pregnancy, you are more susceptible to flu-related ailments. These ailments can lead to hospitalization and even death. Furthermore, there are instances where babies suffer complications, including a birth injury, leading to the involvement of a birth injury lawyer to get the mother and child proper compensation and care for complications.
Why the Flu Vaccine is Safe During Pregnancy
Getting a flu vaccine is vital to ensure you and your baby aren’t at risk of illness or any potential, subsequent birth injuries due to said illness. When administered during pregnancy, a flu vaccine can protect you and your baby as time evolves. A flu vaccine during pregnancy transmits flu antibodies throughout your system, and your baby will be born with those antibodies in its system and is protected from the flu for several months after birth. That is very important because your newborn isn’t eligible for a flu vaccine until he or she is six months old. The flu vaccine’s antibodies also pass through your placenta and breast milk during breastfeeding.
A flu vaccine is very safe during pregnancy. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend you get a flu vaccine. For this flu season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) states you should get a licensed age-appropriate flu vaccine. That can be either an inactivated, recombinant, or live attenuated flu vaccine. It is safe for you to get during any trimester and does not cause any harm to pregnant women or babies.
One fear of getting the flu vaccine for pregnant women stems, in part, from its inclusion of thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative used in multi-dose vials for the flu vaccine to prevent the vials from contamination via germs, fungi, and bacteria. Because mercury is an environmental toxin that may cause birth injury in some pregnancies, that fear is understandable. However, the thimerosal-embedded flu vaccine has been scientifically proven to be safe. There is also a single-dose flu vaccine that doesn’t contain thimerosal that you can opt for.
When you get a flu vaccine, it is made from an inactivated virus, which makes the flu vaccine safe for you and your baby once you get the injection.
What Could Happen If You Get the Flu While Pregnant
As mentioned, a flu vaccine is advised because you are at a greater risk of getting sick. Without a flu vaccine, you and your baby are at risk of serious flu-related complications. Considering you’re going to be in the hospital enough during your pregnancy, getting a flu vaccine can keep you from making additional visits and for reasons less enjoyable that checking on the progress of the baby’s growth.
Opting against a flu vaccine is risky. The flu can lead to maternal complications or a possible birth injury, which may require you to enlist a birth injury lawyer to help you manage the treatments necessary for you or the child to live a healthy life. If you have a fever caused by the flu early in your pregnancy, it can increase the risk of fetal birth defects, such as neural tube defects. It should be emphasized that the flu isn’t a direct cause for birth injury, but rather the symptoms are harmful to your and the baby’s fragile health.
However, if you are very sick from the flu and failed to get a flu vaccine, premature delivery or pregnancy loss is possible. The former could lead to the doctor using forceful means (via forceps or an alternate tool) to deliver your baby. These tools or rather the force applied using them increase birth injury risk. If you have given birth and suspect that malpractice was the cause of your child’s birth defect, contact a birth injury lawyer. They will gather the necessary information and build your case that malpractice occurred during delivery, directly causing the birth injury.
You could also risk breathing complications should you opt against the flu vaccine. Because your body has a harder time combating infections due to a weakened immune system, your health can be severely compromised. Some pregnant women have even developed respiratory issues like pneumonia due to the flu. By getting a flu vaccine as soon as possible, you can save yourself from added stress during an already delicate time.
Contacting the Safe Birth Project
The Safe Birth Project offers legal case help for you before going to your birth injury lawyer. A birth injury lawyer will collect medical records and witness information to help you build your case. You might consider employing a birth injury lawyer for the specific birth injury at hand.