Pregnant women should protect themselves and their babies from the flu, according to the CDC.
There have been plenty of questions about whether or not pregnant women should take their flu shots, but according to the CDC, flu vaccination during pregnancy isn't just safe at every stage of pregnancy and new motherhood, it's absolutely essential.
Pregnant women (and new moms who are within two weeks of delivery) are among the people at greatest risk for complications from the flu: According to Consumer Reports, pregnant women are six times more likely to die from the flu. Because pregnancy weakens your immune system and changes your heart and lungs, pregnant women who come down with the flu are also more likely to become severely ill and require hospitalization.
In spite of this danger, it appears that not enough people (pregnant and otherwise) are getting their flu shots—according to CDC data, less than a third of people of childbearing age receive the annual shot.
Although newborns shouldn't get the vaccination until they're six months old, prenatal protection can benefit them: Pregnant women may be able to pass their immunity along to their children, and this sort of protection can help them avoid influenza in those first few months.
Taking the flu shot can also improve the outcome of your pregnancy. According to the CDC, it can reduce a woman's odds of delivering early—and as we've previously reported, it may even be able to reduce stillbirth risk. Needless to say, it's definitely something you should do sooner rather than later as we head into flu season.