Pregnancy and the Flu

UW Health Flu Resources

Learn More About the Flu

UW Health obstetrics and gynecology specialists recommend flu vaccine for pregnant women as an effective method to compensate for the depleted immune systems that accompany pregnancy.


About the Flu


Influenza ("the flu") is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It usually occurs during winter months from October through May. Symptoms of the flu typically involve:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion

The Flu and Pregnancy


Pregnancy decreases your ability to fight off and avoid infections. The flu can be very harmful for you and your baby. A pregnant woman who gets the flu is at risk for serious complications. Pregnant women with the flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery.


During your pregnancy you are at a higher risk for getting pneumonia from the flu. If you get pneumonia during pregnancy you are more likely to require hospitalization for treatment and could require assistance to breathe. After birth, your baby continues to be at high risk for the flu.


The Flu Vaccine


Getting the flu vaccine is the best thing you can do for you and your baby to avoid the flu. The flu vaccine is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It is safe, and very important, for a woman who is pregnant during flu season to receive the inactivated flu vaccine. Pregnant women can receive the flu shot at any time, during any trimester.


In addition, because babies younger than six months are too young to receive flu vaccine, it is important that everyone who cares for your infant also get a flu vaccine. You should continue to get a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting you and your family against flu viruses.