Toronto doctor urges pregnant women to get flu shot
TORONTO -- A Toronto doctor says he’s noticed a worrying trend in recent months of pregnant women shying away from the flu shot.
“You have your baby in your body and the information out there, sometimes it instills fear in people,” Dr. Joey Latino, a pediatrician at North York General Hospital, said speaking to CTV News Toronto.
Latino said that while every mother has good intentions, the real concern should be about the flu itself.
“During pregnancy, women's bodies go under significant physiological stress, changes to the lungs, to the heart. And getting sick with the flu puts even more stress on these organs so people can get quite sick,” Latino said.
Nurse Adrienne Pang is expecting her first baby in February and while she gets her flu shot every year, she was especially anxious to get the shot as early as possible this year.
“I did want to protect myself and my baby,” Pang said.
“And I also work with a vulnerable population so I wanted to make sure that they were protected as well,” she added.
Pang said that she’s had a wonderful pregnancy so far with no morning sickness. She wonders if the flu vaccine has helped strengthen her immune system.
Preventing influenza in the mother also protects the unborn baby
Latino said that antibodies, which the mother develops against the flu while pregnant, can help protect the baby when it’s first born.
“The flu can put the baby at risk of having anomalies with the heart or the spine,” Latino said. “It can put them at risk of being born early or small”
This is the time of year when flu cases start flooding hospital emergency rooms, according to Latino.
“It can really have serious effects on your heart, on your lungs, on your brain,” Latino said. “It’s not just a common cold.”
Latino urges everyone – including pregnant women – to get vaccinated. And if you still have questions, he says talk to your doctor.