The Flu Vaccine While Pregnant. Yes or No?

by Birth Without Fear on August 23, 2011

Pregnant woman, flu shotEditor Note: I wrote this last year and am reposting for this year as it is about that time again!  Also, this is new:
Shocking vaccine study reveals influenza vaccines only prevent the flu in 1.5 out of 100 adults (not 60% as you’ve been told). Learn more here.

What a BRILLIANT campaign. Pull at people’s heart strings by telling them if they actually love their family, they must get the flu shot to protect them. What the advertisers fail to mention is how unsafe the flu vaccine can really be.

Did you know there are literally thousands of different flu strands? How do they decide which ones to put into the vaccine? After the WHO gives their recommendations as to which strands they feel are most likely to be a threat, each country has the final say. In the United States, the FDA makes that decision.

How does this affect a pregnant mother?

The following is an insert from one of the flu vaccine manufacturers:

“Pregnancy Category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine or Fluzone vaccine. It is also not known whether these vaccines can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.”

Just for kicks, here is what they say for nursing mothers:

“It is not known whether Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine or Fluzone vaccine is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when this vaccine is administered to a nursing woman.”

After reading that would you as a pregnant mother feel safe injecting the flu vaccine into your body? Having knowledge arms us with the ability to make educated choices.

For the 2010-2011 flu vaccine, there are three strands of the flu, including last year’s H1N1 virus aka Swine Flu!  There is no longer a choice of getting the seasonal flu shot and/or the H1N1 because it is a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. The H1N1 has not been studied for safety on pregnant women or infants. YOU are the study. There were many cases of miscarriages linked to the H1N1 last year.

What can you do?

Protecting you and your baby from the flu naturally

The following is a list of things you can do to naturally protect yourself from the flu and ensure you have a strong immune system:

And what if you DO get the flu? Is it really the end of the world? Think about it. You can get the flu vaccine with chemicals, toxins, and flu strands that include the H1N1. You don’t know exactly how that will affect your baby and there is no guarantee you won’t get the flu. The other option is to decline the flu shot and take the chance of possibly getting the flu as well.  With the latter option, your immune system naturally builds antibodies and becomes stronger on it’s own. No chemicals or toxins.

Do not get the flu vaccine based on fear, especially when pregnant! Educate yourself, then have faith in your body. It was designed to keep you healthy better than any pill or shot can. Do all you can to protect yourself naturally. Your baby will thank you.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Meredith Lovell November 5, 2010 at 10:22 am

Thank you for posting. My In Laws are very pro-vaccination in any form. They have been trying to pressure my husband and I for years to get the flu shot and now that I am pregnant (Due Nov 25th) they have gotten more pushy with the subject.


Chandra November 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Yeah, I don’t even know if moms understand that this vaccine is one of the only ones left that had mercury in it and that mercury loves nuerological tissue and passes the placenta. So truly you could be damaging your child before they even are born, not to mention the list of other toxins the vaccine contains or if it is truly effective in the first place. Drug companies have a ton of money and the government gives them immunity to reactions and our tax dollars fund vaccine injury–Why don’t the drug companies start footing the bill for the vaccine injury fund!!!


christine November 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm

why do you say they have mercury in them and other vaccines don’t. Have you read any other the research done in Japan when they made flu vaccines mandatory and what the statistics where when they lifted that regulation.


Dr. Brandon Harshe November 7, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Christine, two things:

1.) She said the flu vaccine is one of the only vaccines left with mercury (thimerosol) because it is. A quick Google search will tell you that.

2.) There was virtually no difference in the statistics between people who got the flu vaccine in Japan and those who didn’t. The mandatory ruling was lifted in 1987 because it was seen as nothing more than a legal or financial liability if it continued. By 1989, only 20% of the Japanese population was getting the flu vaccine. Not too much in the way of statistics to support getting the flu shot.


Kacie November 14, 2010 at 5:08 am

They do make a mercury-free version of the flu shot. That’s what I was able to get for myself at a Walgreens clinic.

Guggie Daly December 11, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Thimerosal is still present in trace amounts in some vaccines. The FDA modernization act that required vaccine companies to remove Thimerosal by 2001 had a loophole in it, so vaccine companies continue to use Thimerosal as a preservative/antimicrobial during the manufacturing process and then remove as much as possible at the end.

How much remains in the finished product is estimated, as the FDA does not require batches to be tested or exact amounts to be claimed. Most “trace amounts” are equal to or less than .3mcg per dose. The EPA set the maximum exposure rate for children at .5mcg. So more than one dose in one day will exceed it.

You can read more on my post about the topic:

The Deranged Housewife November 5, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Really, the first lines of defense against this and any illness are to cover your cough already dammit! and wash your hands. I see so many people who do neither and it makes me want to barf. My kids are thumbsuckers, so I try to be extra vigilant about hand-washing.

And is it ironic or not that I read the word “monovalent” as “malevolent.” LOL! Isn’t that the truth …

The really interesting thing about the flu vaccine – especially with regard to the latest freak out episode about swine and bird flus – are that many people in a certain age group are already immune. That’s because they’re older and have lived through many previous strains of the same virus. We’ve already had bird flu AND swine flu epidemics in decades past, and the people who are lining up ten deep to get their shot – Because the Government makes you think you’re going to die if you don’t! – are probably already immune to it anyway. So the shot is probably near-worthless. Or at the very least, definitely isn’t as necessary as its touted to be.


Josie July 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm

This isn’t necessarily true, because strains are ALWAYS mutating, and a simple mutation can lead you to catching anything again.


Dani Arnold November 5, 2010 at 10:41 pm
Claire November 5, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Five supplement to ward off the flu;

I saw this the other day perfect input for this article. I am not anti vax but a flu vaccine seems silly.


Claire November 5, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Chandra I believe they give pregnant woman & children the nasal spray, it doesn’t contain those things.


christine November 6, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Pregnant women should never receive the nasal form as it is a live virus. Pregnant women should request a pre filled syringe or single dose vial that contains no preservative. The same for children on the preservative free dosage if they can not receive the nasal due to existing health conditions.


Dr. Brandon Harshe November 7, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I would argue that pregnant women should NOT get the flu vaccine in any form. The WHO chooses 3 strands of the flu each year that they believe will be problems… 3 strands out of thousands! They are guessing and have no scientific reasoning to support this. Not to mention, the H1N1 strand has been in the flu shot for a number of years, so why was there a sudden panic about the H1N1 last year? Shouldn’t the vaccine have kept that from happening? If you look at ALL the facts surrounding the flu vaccine, and think about it logically, you’ll realize that it is of no real value at all.


Josie July 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm

H1N1 was not in the 2009 flu vaccination, at least not that I can find any record of.

Also, WHO uses statistics on what strains are showing up the most (and people are getting tested for) to decide which strains to try to supply in the vaccination. It’s a flawed system, as many people don’t even go to the doctor with the flu, but it’s the best they can do.


Mrs. BWF August 23, 2011 at 11:56 am

H1Ni is in the 2010-2011 flu vaccine.

RN November 6, 2010 at 12:03 am

I would just like to say a few things on this subject. Although it is completely an individual’s decision to get the flu shot, there are a few points to ponder. Such as: There are two vaccines (and have been for quite sometime). One is Vaxigrip with does NOT contain the thermosil (mercury component) and is to be used for pregnant or lactating women as well as younger children. The other is called Fluviral which does contain the thermosil, but is still considered safe for pregnant or lactating women. Another common misperception is that why get the flu shot, especially since H1N1 wasn’t bad. The problem with this misconception is multifactorial and includes everything from the huge amount of health promotion (cover your cough, etc) to the reality that a lot of people were immunized against H1N1, therefore it did not turn into a full blown pandemic like the WHO thought it would.

And as for certain age groups being immune to the bird and swine flus. That is correct, but only if your over about 50. So young women in their 20’s and 30’s most likely have not been exposed to these strains of flus.

2009 also proved to be absolutely horrible for some in the nursing world. If flu-shots are “near-worthless” and getting the flu while pregnant is supposedly better than getting a needle, think about this: There were a number of pregnant women in ICU…on ventilators because they had H1N1. Many of the women who ended up on ventilators did not live and their babies were delivered via c-section. This is not fabricated as I knew nurses who were told to be prepared to help deliver babies in ICU if needed. How would you feel if that were you? The flu shot is no different than any other vaccine you would most likely insist that your baby have once they are born.


Dr. Brandon Harshe November 7, 2010 at 9:26 pm

RN, I don’t doubt that you know nurses who were told to deliver babies in the ICU if necessary. But how many of those pregnant women who had H1N1 died solely because of H1N1? According to this following article, 33% of the 77 deaths caused by H1N1 in pregnant women resulted from bacterial pneumonia, not H1N1.

The following story about Aubrey Opdyke does little to convince me that her baby died because she had H1N1 either.

“In the four months she was hospitalized, she spent five weeks in a coma, suffered six collapsed lungs and a near-fatal seizure. High-pressure ventilation blew her up like a molten balloon until “she looked like she weighed 400 pounds,” her husband, Bryan, said, and she has stretch marks from her neck to her ankles. Her muscles and lungs are still so weak that she uses a walker.”

Yes, she had H1N1, but how did she get 6 collapsed lungs? Possibly the high pressure ventilation that made her look like 400 lbs?!? And the near fatal seizure? Those aren’t symptoms of any flu I’ve heard of. Looks like her stay in the hospital made things a lot worse than they would have been if she had stayed out.

When the bird flu came out in 2002, the Bush administration said that up to 200 million Americans could die. By 2006, barely over 100 people WORLDWIDE had died because of it. You can’t honestly tell me the bird flu is a threat, can you?

And not to mention, the flu vaccine has been banned in Australia for children because of cases of vomiting and seizures.

Not too convincing if you ask me.


Earth Angel Mumma July 25, 2011 at 11:29 pm

@ RN, I demand NO vaccines are given to my children when they are born.
Also, more women miscarried their babies shortly after the swine flu vax than women died from complications that arose from having the swine flu.

Sadly DR, the vax wasn’t recalled due to the seizures and vomiting (else they’d pull every vax off the schedule) but rather because we had children die over here within days of being administered the vax :( Some children that survived the poisoning, are now brain damaged :(


Nikko November 7, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Lung problems run in my family. FATAL lung problems. Generally, they come from getting a bad case of the flu. In the past, I’ve nearly died from pneumonia that came about from the flu. I was hitting dangerously high fevers, I could barely draw breath, and I was delirious.

For me, getting the flu shot seemed like a worthwhile risk. If I DO get the flu, I won’t be plagued with ‘what if’… what if I die, what if baby dies, what if she gets brain damage… I’ll have done what I can.

For people who DON’T have a history of near-death from the flu, however, I can certainly agree with and respect the choice to not get the flu shot. But I’m the sort of person who feels that so long as a person owns their choices then I won’t judge.


Dr. Brandon Harshe November 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm

“But I’m the sort of person who feels that so long as a person owns their choices then I won’t judge.” I agree completely! Well said.


Britney Beneke January 21, 2013 at 10:09 am

I sure wish there were more docs like you Brandon! Can you come to La Crosse, WI please?!

I’m struggling right now with vaxxing our child – due in May. My 3 year old had an awful reaction to her MMR vaccine and hasn’t been vaxxed since. I would like to spread out vaccines for our little guy on the way and am looking at alternative options. cutting out some vaccines altogether, and pushing off until I’m done breastfeeding. You seem very open and informed. Do you have any suggestions on which vaccines can be avoided, and which are absolutely necessary.

As for Vit. K at birth, is that mainly for circumcision purposes? Can I just supplement with something vs doing a vax?

This post was forever ago…but I hope you get this.

Thanks much!


Birth Smart November 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm

delighted to meet your blog. the way you put this really sums up my thoughts as well. thank you.


Beth Yenca April 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

During all my pregnancies I was begged by my doctors to take the flu shot (especially the most recent h1n1 fear mongering one). I refused each time. I did get the flu shot as a teen and it always lengthened the flu. I learned early on that I didn’t like the flu shot (wasn’t aware of other things with vaccines till I got older and educated) so I refused it. I have never had one while pregnant, my oldest child had 1/2 a dose and had a BAD reaction to it. But that still didn’t make me stop vaccines. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with #2 that my great Chiropractor gave me a TON of info and I researched a ton on the internet. We came to the conclusion to not vaccinate our children due to that.

I hate to see women bullied and emotionally manipulated to get vaccines while pregnant. Makes me so freakin upset. They tried it with me and it was so frustrating.


Morgan April 8, 2011 at 9:24 am

After I told my mother in another state that I was pregnant she called me a few weeks later and told me Do Not get the H1N1 sit. A coworker of my step father’s daughter got the H1N1 during her 8 month of pregnancy because her ob recommended it and when she went for her next weekly visit they couldn’t find a heartbeat. Granted babies do die in utero from unknown causes, but she did nothing different in her daily life beside get vaccinated, and I would put 2 and 2 together that the vaccine may have had something to do with it.


MamaBennie April 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, during the whole “swine flu epidemic”, I denied the vaccination at the doctor’s office, and the nurse treated me like I was some kind of negligent monster as I was signing the opt out form. None of us receive the flu shot and the guilt trips they try to give are AMAZING.


Marissa April 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

I have to wonder why if the drug companies and our health communities believe that the flu vaccine is so crucial to maintaining public health, why don’t they perform double blind placebo trials to prove just how effective it is? Many if not most of us will get exposed to the virus at some point during the season and they should get enough of a result to see whether or not the people getting the vaccine actually contract the virus. Granted, it would not be as immediate as the synthetic drug tests they do, but many of those include follow ups for several weeks.


Josie July 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I know everyone thinks it is not such a big deal to get the flu while pregnant. Here is one of the main reasons I opted for the themosil-free shot while pregnant with my daughter.

“Epidemiological studies have shown high rates of schizophrenia among persons whose mothers were exposed to the influenza virus while pregnant. For example, persons whose mothers were exposed to the influenza epidemic that swept Helsinki, Finland, in 1957 were significantly more likely to develop schizophrenia than people in control groups, particularly if their mothers were exposed during the second trimester of pregnancy. (Mednick et al., 1988, 11998). The second trimester is a cruicial period for the development of the central nervous sytem of the fetus. Disruption in the phase of brain development could cause the major structural deficits found in the brains of some people with schizophrenia.” (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2008)

Here’s a study done on mice proving the same theory:

I think the wisest idea is still to get it before you become pregnant, if possible. But there are two sides to every story, and when I evaluated my personal situation and did a lot of research, I opted for a flu vaccine and H1N1.

That said, I do not allow my children the thermosil vaccine – but I’m not a huge believer in the flu vaccine anyway – just in the pregnancy situation. We haven’t received them otherwise.


Nichole November 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm

By getting the flu shot you are STILL exposing your unborn child to influenza… so that argument, to me, is invalid. How do you think vaccines work? You are exposed to a small, sometimes inactivated, version of the virus and your body is supposed to produce immunities.


Brendelyn Beck October 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm

I realize this is an old post, but I’m just finding it, so maybe others are too…

Later studies revealed that the problems weren’t from the actual contracted virus, but due to the immune respose in the mother, which is exactly what the vaccine causes:

Maternal influenza infection is likely to alter fetal brain development indirectly: the virus is not detected in the fetus
[Int. J. Devl Neuroscience 23 (2005) 299–305]
“the poly(I:C) result indicates that abnormalities in the offspring may be caused by the maternal anti-viral inflammatory response… microbial infection was not necessary to alter fetal brain development.”

“the altered fetal brain development that leads to behavioral abnormalities we see in the adult offspring of infected mothers is not due to influenza infection of the fetuses. Thus, the effects of maternal infection on fetal brain development are likely to be indirect, probably involving the maternal inflammatory response.” [ibid.]

“maternal viral infection has a profound effect on the behavior of adult offspring, probably via an effect of the maternal immune response on the fetus.” [J Neuroscience, Jan 1, 2003;23(1):297–302]

“Since influenza is believed to only rarely cross the placenta, an indirect effect on fetal brain development is the most plausible pathogenic mechanism linking it to an increased risk of schizophrenia. One such mechanism, previously considered, is that maternal IgG antibodies elicited by influenza traverse the placenta and crossreact with fetal brain antigens by molecular mimicry, thereby disturbing fetal brain development and increasing vulnerability to schizophrenia. Another potential immunologic mediator is an influenza-induced excess of maternal cytokines, which may damage the developing fetal brain.” [Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004;61:774-780]


Bethany August 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Thanks for posting. I have never gotten a flu shot & have never felt bad about it. I don’t have my kids get it either. We hardly ever get the flu and when we do its shorter and less intense then our friends and family members who did get the vaccine. I never did any research into the pro & cons of the flu vaccine it just made more sense to NOT put something in that won’t guaranty it’ll keep me healthy. I’ll go with my natural immunities thank you.


Mama Wrench August 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I’m in the military, so vaccinations weren’t optional. (If you refuse you’re considered “not medically ready” and can technically be medically discharged. Since the military is our primary income and they’re trying to get rid of people I’d rather not make myself a target.) Oddly enough, though, the only vaccination they mandate during pregnancy and breastfeeding is the flu shot, even over other vaccinations that are considered safe by the FDA for pregnant/nursing women.


Birth Smart September 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I haven’t gotten the flu shot for myself or my children in the past 6 years. I use essential oils for various health concerns and particularly the On Guard blend by doTerra for immune support. I recently found this study that describes it’s effectiveness against the flu virus. I’d much rather kill the flu with pure cinnamon, clove, orange (etc) oils than try and -possibly- prevent it with a vaccine.


rachel loth November 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm

we use doTerra too! glad to have another tool on my side going into this winter.


Marie October 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Im sure that the swine flu vaccine that was first given out was dangerous. My friends boy was born from a mother that had the vaccine and the 15 month old child keeps having fits and high tempertures. His had loads of test all clear. Its un certain why he has fits but I would think that the vaccine that contain high levels of mercury is the caurse. Has anyone had the same thing?


rachel loth November 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm

This week I got it from our pediatrician. Im due in Jan and he let me know that he has had some babies born in Jan who ended up in the NICU on ventilators ….. um, hello, scare tactic much? I still declined the vaccines, for all of us. The flu is no joke, we’ve had it pass through here several times and its no fun. But the vaccine isnt worth the risk IMO.


Savanah November 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I got my flu shot last week. I wish I would’ve read this sooner. I just feel completely stupid! :(


Mrs. BWF November 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Don’t mama. You did what you felt was best!


NorCalRN November 3, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Just wanted to pipe up really quickly. Thanks for posting this again- SUCH important information to be shared! I am also an RN and have had maybe 4 total flu shots in my life (I’m 28). I am regularly exposed to sick people and a large and often-changing diverse sample of the public. I can count on 1 hand the number of times I have had the full blown Flu, and NONE of those times have occurred in a year I did not get vaccinated. I am now very opposed to most vaccines, and view the Flu shot as being completely unnecessary for the general public. I can see the usefulness to some who’s immune systems simply cannot fight common viruses. But for most- let your body do what it was made to do! :)


Holly Galvan August 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Thank you for posting this! I was constanly hounded to get the flu vac and was very much made to feel like I was harming my baby if I didn’t do so. How many ways can you say “No thank you” and guess who didn’t get even a little cold…yep that’s right ME!


Rachel September 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

Thank you so much! I was in another forum and a lady asked if we thought the flu shot during pregnancy was a great idea. I gave her this link (very well written with great resources!) and the CDC ingredients list. I hope that helps her make an informed decision. : )


Elizabeth December 1, 2012 at 7:53 am

I am so happy i found this. I know its old but reading this makes me feel so much more at ease by not wanting to get a flu shot. I am currently pregnant and DO NOT want a shot. I have always been against these shots,and being pregnant has not changed my mind. Why shoot myself up with something I do not want anyways. Thank you so much for posting this.


Lynnie December 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

When the H1N1 vaccine first came out, I was pregnant in working as a housekeeper in the Long Term Care section of our small town’s hospital. The Employee Health Nurse called me at my home to inform me that they had a special no mercury containing H1N1 vaccine for the pregant staff who worked directly with the patients (there were several of us). I didn’t want the shot, but I already knew of several cases of H1N1 in the hospital (thankfully not in LTC) and I knew personally a daughter of a man who eventually died from H1N1 and pneumonia. (I also “knew” that the nurse would continually hound me to get the shot. So, I prayed for protection for me and my baby and received the shot. We didn’t have any negative affects of the shot, but I knew I was in a very high risk situation, so in my mind the risks of H1N1 outweighed the risk of the shot. If I didn’t have contact with potentially very sick people for 10 hours a day, I wouldn’t have risked it. But working in the place where people go to when they are sick certainly gave me more concern.


Jay June 26, 2013 at 10:38 pm

I was required by Madigan Army Medical Center to get a flu shot while pregnant (I was a spouse of a private first class). The next day I started to miscarry. Its been six years and I haven’t been able to get pregnant again. I don’t think its fair to force these vaccines on people. Also, I don’t think its coincidence that nearly every woman of child bearing age that I knew in the military that had the flu shot at that time had trouble conceiving after. I almost think its a fertility vaccine. :-/


Emily November 17, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I am so sorry for what happened to you.


Bianca Farish November 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I don’t know exactly how to go about asking this question but here it goes. I love this blog and I am attempting to have a natural delivery with my first baby. I am trying to be as educated as possible but there is one topic that I feel has not been addressed as it is now becoming a common practice of OBs. My OB is trying to pressure me big time to get the whooping cough vaccine now in my pregnancy. I had seen research stating that there is a link between autism and being vaccinated while pregnant. To me, I already have a sister with Down Syndrome and I can’t take the risk of raising two disabled children. I’m too young to take that kind of chance and my husband feels the same. If this topic could be addressed somehow I would be very interested in reading other women’s experience and transferring of knowledge. Thank you!


Lou April 28, 2014 at 11:36 am

If you take a little time to explore the flu evidence you may come to these conclusions on “the flu”.

The bottom line on the “Seasonal Flu” is you do NOT want protection from ONLY the seasonal flu virus. You want protection from ALL VIRAL infection. The “Seasonal Flu” is a minor, UNKNOWABLE apriori, subset of VIRAL INFECTION.

Vitamins D and C, in ADEQUATE AMOUNTS will protect you from ALL VIRAL INFECTIONS.

It is just this simple and difficult.


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