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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Flu and Pregnancy

Contact the Maternal and Child Health Section

  •  850-245-4465
  •  

    Fax

    850-245-4047
  •  

    Mailing Address

    Maternal and Child Health Section 

    4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A13 

    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1721 

What is the Flu?

Influenza (also known as “the flu”) is a contagious virus that causes mild to severe respiratory illness.  Getting the flu can cause serious problems when you are pregnant.

I’ve had the flu before.  Why is it different now that I am pregnant?woman sick and in bed

Even if you are generally healthy, changes in immune, heart and lung functions during pregnancy can make you more likely to get seriously ill from the flu. Pregnant women who get the flu are at higher risk of hospitalization, and even death, than non-pregnant women. Severe illness in the pregnant mother can also be dangerous to her fetus because it increases the chances for serious problems such as premature birth.

Can I get the flu vaccine if I am pregnant?

The flu shot is considered safe during pregnancy.  The nasal spray (or live attenuated influenza vaccine also known as LAIV) vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women.

I’ve heard that the flu vaccine is not 100% effective.  What else can I do to protect myself against getting the flu?

Although the vaccine is very effective, you are correct; it is not 100% effective so it is important to protect yourself in other ways. 

  1. Hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself.  If you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water, use hand sanitizer.
  2. Avoid people who are sick as much as you can.
  3. Disinfect frequently used surfaces.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  5. Practice good health habits.  Eat a healthy diet, exercise (talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine), drink plenty of water and reduce your stress.
  6. Make sure everyone in the household is up-to-date on their vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.

TALK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TODAY ABOUT PROTECTION FROM THE FLU.

For more information, click on the resources below:

Pregnant women need a flu shot fact sheet   flu and pregnancy fact sheet    preventing the flu during pregnancy fact sheet

You may also locate a flu shot provider in your area.

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.