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While flu is a mild illness for most people, it can be very serious for pregnant women. Serious complications include pneumonia and heart and lung problems. Pregnant women are about 10 times more likely to become so ill that they need to be admitted to hospital. The risk of complications (including miscarriage, premature labour and stillbirth) is highest during the latter stages of pregnancy. Sadly, some pregnant women have died as a result of swine flu infection.
The flu vaccine can protect you and your unborn baby from the effects of flu. Flu vaccines have been used for over 30 years with hundreds of millions of doses being given in countries throughout the world. The flu vaccine is licensed for use in pregnancy at any stage by the European Medicines Agency. A review of studies on the safety of flu vaccine in pregnancy concluded that inactivated flu vaccine can be safely and effectively administered during any trimester of pregnancy and that no study to date has demonstrated an increased risk of either maternal complications or adverse outcomes associated with inactivated flu vaccines.
All pregnant women should get the flu vaccine regardless of their stage of pregnancy. Pregnant women with a serious allergy to hens' eggs should discuss this with their GP. Download the updated Protect yourself and your baby: the flu vaccine and pregnancy for comprehensive guidance and advice.
The flu vaccine should not be given to those who have had an anaphylactic reaction to a previous flu vaccine.