If you’re pregnant, taking precautions to
prevent the flu is especially important. Pregnant women, even those in perfect health,
can become very ill if they get the flu.
For example, research has found that pregnant women who acquired the flu in the third trimester are just as likely to be hospitalized for heart or lung problems as non-pregnant women with serious, chronic medical conditions.
The risk increases as women progress in their pregnancies. One study showed that healthy women at 37 to 42 weeks are almost five times as likely to be admitted to the hospital during the flu season for heart or lung problems as women who are one to six months postpartum. Another study showed that pregnant women with asthma are at extra high risk for hospitalization during the flu season. The pandemic H1N1 flu virus of 2009 proved to be particularly harmful to pregnant women.
Because of these findings, both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women who are or will be pregnant during
the flu season get the flu vaccine.