What would you do? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-17-2012, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm 32 weeks pregnant and my doctors keep asking me if I'm going to be getting the flu vax/whooping cough vax. I had one doctor say that if I were to only get one, get the flu vax. I have never gotten a flu shot in my entire life and getting one for the first time during pregnancy scares the heck out of me. My MIL just had a flu shot recently and now she is sick with a high fever, she thinks she now has the flu. Also to consider, my husband works as a security officer and in the warehouse that he patrols, they have a lot of foreign temp workers that come in and he doesn't want to bring home anything. Also, I have a nephew that visits frequently and he is constantly sick because his mother is nurse at a hospital. I just have no idea what I should do. I keep hearing of people getting sick after they get the flu vax and because I've never gotten one before, getting one for the first time while pregnant seems extra risky, but I certainly do not want to want to get the flu from not getting the shot and put mine and my baby's life at risk...What would you all do?

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#2 of 8 Old 10-18-2012, 07:02 AM
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I wouldn't get anything while pregnant.  Zip.  To the best of my knowledge vaccines have not been well tested on pregnant women.  I believe drug use should be avoided when pregnant, for the most part.


That out of the way, I think you need to look at what are benefits of getting each shot while pregnant, and what are the risks.  Here is how I see it:


Risks of flu while pregnant:


-The flu is harder on the mother when pregnant, and you are more likely to end up hospitalised if you get the flu than a non pregnant woman


That being said…..


The flu shot is not very effective, and there is fairly little "real flu" floating around (a lot of people think they have the flu - when really, they don't).


Here is a review of how common and effective the flu shot is:



The CDC list peak flu season as Feb-March - you will have given birth before peak season hits.  You could always get a flu shot once the baby is born if you like.  


If you do get the flu shot, please ask for a thimerosal free shot.  Do not assume you will get a thim free shot because you are pregnant, because that is not always the case.  You can look up thim free shots and ask for them by name.  Be pro-active and look at the vial.


I imagine your doctor wants you to get a pertussis booster to prevent spreading pertussis to your baby.  I have mixed feelings on this, although I would not do it during pregnancy


On the pro side - pertusiss is dangerous in infants, and getting a shot may help protect your baby from catching the disease from you.


On the con side:  There is some evidence that cocooning is not effective.  Australia is abandoning its practice of offering free whooping cough shots to parents as it has not been shown to reduce the transmission rate to babies:




The pertussis vaccine is spectacularly ineffective in general.  


Despite this, I can see parents wanting to get a booster in faint hopes it will reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease to their babies.  


Personally, I believe the best way to keep very young babies safe is to keep them out of cramped public places until they are a little older.  No crowded mall, buses, etc.  


Pertussis seems to peak in late summer/early fall, so you might miss peak season (yeah!)


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#3 of 8 Old 10-18-2012, 07:27 PM
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When I was pregnant (my "baby" is 16 months now!) I was also offered both the flu vax and pertussis booster at my ob's office, and I declined both. I have never gotten a flu shot either, and I was not about to start when pregnant. Most people feel crappy for a few days after getting the flu shot because the body reacts to the killed virus. I remember reading somewhere, maybe clinical pharmacology (I have access to it at work) that 1000 pregnant women have to be vaccinated to prevent 12 hospitalizations due to the flu...didn't seem worth it to me! As far as the pertussis booster, it is only recently that the pertussis component was recommended for pregnant patients. I remember reading the package insert at one point and it said if you get the vaccine and find out you are pregnant to call the manufacturer and let them know...maybe that is their scientific study?? Who knows. I also declined the pertussis booster in the hospital.
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#4 of 8 Old 10-18-2012, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

To the best of my knowledge vaccines have been well tested on pregnant women.  


I assume you meant they have NOT been well tested on pregnant women.


Some flu shots are category B. Most are category C, and the pertussis vaccine is category C.


Category B and C mean that they have not been tested on pregnant women.

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#5 of 8 Old 10-19-2012, 03:46 AM
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I got the flu shot (both H1N1 and seasonal flu) when pregnant in 2009. No ill effects. I realise that's an anecdote which may not help with your decision, but it makes it clear what I would do in your case. :) 

Mother of two living in UK. Daughter (2007) born in USA, son (2010) born here. I'm pro natural birth, midwife care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and a keen advocate of cloth diapering. I'm a full time working research scientist (physical sciences). Vaccines save lives.
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#6 of 8 Old 10-19-2012, 05:18 AM
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i was advised while i was preggo NOT to get a flu shot....of course, that advice is now 20yrs old, and  since then,  NO studies have ever been done on pregnant women either to determine efficacy, or safety with ANY vaccines.   If i'm wrong about that, please share a link proving otherwise.  As far as i know, it's unethical to test drugs on pregnant women. 

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#7 of 8 Old 10-19-2012, 04:13 PM
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You are pregnant and your Baby has another 8 weeks left to develop. During pregnancy you should not drink alcohol or eat certain products and you should not take certain medication either. So why even bother with the flu shot and Tdap since Pertussis vax is not a single vax. I was pregnant when the swine flu was out and about everywhere, working at a pharmacy with first hand contact to all these sick people. When I asked my OB about the risks, he just stated: You are pregnant - we are not doing any vaxxes. Period. Never got the flu shot and I never got the flu. Life is 100% risk. Do some research and you will see those 8 weeks will just fly by. I hope you will have a wonderful birth and a very healthy baby. All the best to you and your decision.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

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#8 of 8 Old 10-19-2012, 04:18 PM
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just noted you signature too.


So this is your 3rd child - right? Why does your OB recommend these shots now and has not done so before? Were the other 2 pregnancies any different? Did you feel less safe without these vaccines? Would you feel safer now having these vaccines?

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

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