Flu season is just around the corner and health experts are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated, including pregnant mothers. Dr. Melissa Lee, a gynecologist at Lee Memorial Health System, says no matter what stage of pregnancy it’s important to get a flu vaccine. “They are considered a higher risk category so we actually recommend every pregnant female get the flu vaccine.” The flu shot will protect both mother and baby throughout the entire pregnancy. “Not only does it protect the mom during pregnancy but it also transfers some immunity to the baby during pregnancy, and if you’re breast feeding, also after pregnancy,” said Dr. Lee. The vaccine helps the pregnant mother develop antibodies, protecting them from anyone who may have the flu. But some mothers worry about what the vaccine does to the baby. Dr. Lee says the vaccine will protect the baby too. “Everybody is always concerned about the thimerosal and the additive that are in it. Actually, thimerosal has not been associated with any autism issues and that’s usually the big red flag that everybody gets concerned about,” said Dr. Lee. If a pregnant mother gets the flu, it puts her and the baby at risk. “The risk of complications during pregnancy with the flu is much higher because your immune system is a little bit more compromised and your respiratory system also isn’t as good at clearing things,” said Dr. Lee. A pregnant mother who tests positive for the flu is at risk for pneumonia, hospitalization, even preterm labor. “A lot of symptoms they have are fever, chills, coughing, runny nose,” said Dr. Lee. Fortunately, pregnant mothers can take Tamiflu during pregnancy to help get rid of the symptoms. View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/ Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Visit leememorial.org