Specialist Suggests Pregnant Women Request Influenza Vaccine

With the current shortage of influenza vaccine, women who are pregnant should be considered a high priority and should seek a flu shot as soon as possible.

Neil S. Silverman, MD, medical director of Inpatient Obstetric Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends influenza vaccine for women who are in their second and third trimester of pregnancy. Vaccination is also urged for women in the first trimester who have a medical condition that could be exacerbated by complications of the flu. Influenza vaccination during pregnancy has not been associated with adverse fetal or neonatal effects.


Women who suffer an influenza infection during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester, are at high risk for developing serious complications that can impact their health and that of the baby, says Dr. Silverman. We have found that many women choose to be vaccinated not only to safeguard themselves and the fetus during pregnancy, but to provide a level of protection for the newborn, as well. Maternal vaccination during pregnancy has been demonstrated to transfer immunity from mother to fetus, which reduces the risks for a baby born during flu season.


Dr. Silverman suggests women be proactive in asking their obstetricians about vaccination. Despite the proven benefits of influenza vaccination for both pregnant women and newborns, rates of vaccination for pregnant women have tended to be low from year to year. Pregnant women and those hoping to become pregnant should seriously consider asking about vaccination.


Board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Dr. Silverman conducts research on viral infections including influenza, HIV, hepatitis and cytomegalovirus during pregnancy. He is a faculty perinatologist in Cedars-Sinais Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Director of the medical centers Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship training program, and a Clinical Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UCLA School of Medicine.


Source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center