During your pregnancy, it's important to follow your doctor's orders to ensure that you're doing everything possible to maintain your own health -- and the health of your baby.
And now that the World Health Organization is saying that pregnant women should be given top priority for flu vaccinations, the question over whether or not to get one really shouldn't be an issue anymore.
You HAVE to.
It's fairly common knowledge that when you're pregnant, your immune system is down, so it's tougher to fight off viruses and infections should you become sick.
According to Dr. Jon Abramson, a pediatrician at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, when it comes to pregnant women and the flu, "They're not more likely to get it, but if they get it, they're more likely to have severe morbidity or actually die from it."
(Yeah, that's not good.)
He also added:
When the immune system is down, the mother's body can't fight the flu off as easily. It can then escalate and result in pneumonia and other health problems. Even if the flu doesn't result in hospitalization, the baby is more likely to have a low birth weight or be born premature, especially if the mother gets the flu in the third trimester.
And if you still aren't too concerned after hearing the warnings because you figure you're healthy as a horse and your baby will be just fine even if you get the flu -- you'll probably change your mind after hearing what happened to one mom who chose to forgo her flu shot.
Aubrey Opdyke didn't get her vaccine for the same reason most of us don't, because it really just didn't cross her mind as being necessary. But she wound up getting the flu while she was 27 weeks pregnant, which was so bad it put her in the hospital. She was put into a medically induced coma, and her baby was born premature -- and only lived for seven minutes.
OMG. SEVEN minutes was all she had with her little angel, and the tragedy probably could've been prevented if she'd had her flu shot.
And if I'd heard her story or something similar when I was pregnant with my son, I would have changed my mind and gotten my flu vaccine for sure. Like Aubrey, I too figured getting the shot was no big deal, so I didn't do it. I'd always heard that getting the flu was better than getting the shot because the shot can make you even sicker than the flu -- but I guess things in your body are different during a pregnancy. And I never really took that into consideration.
The warning put out by the WHO is definitely one all pregnant women should take seriously -- so call your doctor today to schedule that shot!
You can hear more about why you should get the flu shot in this video.
Have you had your flu shot yet?
Image via USACE Europe District/Flickr