Flu vaccination and pregnancy

Women in their second and third trimester of pregnancy should be vaccinated against flu because the function of their hearts and lungs are compromised by the extra burden of pregnancy.

It may be beneficial to their unborn babies as well. Antibodies from the mother that are carried across the placenta to the unborn baby might protect the infants from infection with the influenza viruses.

Pregnant moms should be careful not to take any over-the-counter (OTC) medication. They should be aware of the potential danger of possible harmful ingredients in some OTC drugs, which can have adverse (physiological) effects or even harm their unborn babies.

Pregnant moms should watch out for drugs containing:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (such as Brufen and Voltaren);
  • aspirin;
  • paracetamol. However, a high fever can harm the unborn baby (particularly the first twelve weeks of pregnancy) and should not be left untreated. If a pregnant woman has a fever, she should consult her doctor;
  • No drugs with stimulants are advisable as these will also affect the unborn baby. Stimulants have a direct effect on the central nervous system of the mom, and will act in the same way with the unborn baby.


Reviewed (2006) by Dr Jane Yeats MBChB, BSc(Med)(Hons)Biochem, FCPathSA(Virology).

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