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Flu Shot? I Pass!

By Danielle |

syringe, flu shot, shots, doctor

I think it started when I was a child. I think some of my most traumatic memories were going to the Doctor and having to be held down to get a shot. Then when I got pregnant my fear of needles got worse. I never realized how much blood they take from pregnant women! Some trips to get blood drawn, I was shocked there was any left in my body when I left!

On my third pregnancy now, I have learned all the different vaccines, shots, tests, and other probes they want to do during pregnancy.  With my second child, I opted out of a ton of them knowing that they weren’t really medically necessary for someone my age, and I found along the way I really just dodged more added stress I would have dealt with.

This time around, just like with my last son, a huge portion of my pregnancy is going to take place in the winter. Cold and flu season, if you will.  Today I sit here writing this with a horrible cold already, so I figure I have one strike down.

A couple women I know who are also pregnant, and due in the months surrounding May asked whether or not I would be going for my flu shot. Two pregnancies already, and I can honestly say, I have never gotten the flu shot, or the flu when I was pregnant. Heck, my husband even ended up with H1N1 last year and he was the only one in the house to get sick. I guess we all got lucky!

I almost felt like an odd ball since I have no plan to go and get the flu shot. It is painful, I have never had one as long as I can remember, and I have successfully avoided the flu during my other two pregnancies, so why start now right?   I am sure whichever provider I settle down with once i am done interviewing and checking out my options will suggest I have one. I am sure I am going to have to reply with some kind of snarky humorous statement like Over my dead body too.

More power to those who get them, but any needle I can avoid, I am going to!

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About Danielle



Danielle Elwood is a straight-shooting Florida based mom of three and emerging indie author. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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10 thoughts on “Flu Shot? I Pass!

  1. laura says:

    My big motivation to get the shot during pregnancy, I volunteered in the state mental facility during undergrad. Studies have shown that the risk of developing schizophrenia was seven times higher among those children whose mothers were exposed to influenza during the first trimester of pregnancy based on blood tests (Archives of General Psychiatry, Aug ’10). The risk of schizophrenia is small anyway (and only a big deal for the first 20wks gestation), but the consequences are devestating (think: autism times a hundred that doesn’t become evident until 18yrs instead of 18 months). I’ll GLADLY deal with some arm discomfort to reduce the odds. If you don’t wory about coming down with the flu, then you probably won’t be concerned about the prenatal consequences of getting the flu. But I have to point out, by your logic, I shouldn’t wear a seatbelt while I’m pregnant. it’s uncomfortable. And I’ve never once been in an accident while pregnant. Why start now?

  2. Kate says:

    The previous commenter should really read: “Does the vaccine matter?” found in the 11/09 edition of the Atlantic. Online found here:
    Nonetheless, in 2004, Jackson and three colleagues set out to determine whether the mortality difference between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated might be caused by a phenomenon known as the “healthy user effect.”

    The results were also so unexpected that many experts simply refused to believe them. Jackson’s papers were turned down for publication in the top-ranked medical journals. One flu expert who reviewed her studies for the Journal of the American Medical Association wrote, “To accept these results would be to say that the earth is flat!” When the papers were finally published in 2006, in the less prominent International Journal of Epidemiology, they were largely ignored by doctors and public-health officials. “The answer I got,” says Jackson, “was not the right answer.”
    Yeah, I think I’ll pass on getting what is, essentially, a useless vaccine. There have been no long term studies done on the damage caused by altering one’s immune system on an annual basis.

    And the comment about seatbelts? Seatbelts have verifiable evidence that supports the theory they reduce death and injury. Flu vaccines do not.

  3. Danielle625 says:

    Laura, I am a big believer, and follower in evidence based medicine. Which the evidence currently shows virtually no reason for pregnant women to have the flu shot, and as for the risk of my child being at risk for schizophrenia, the risk is so small, it isn’t even a blip on my radar. I have 6 more weeks to go in my first trimester, it is not flu season, and even women who are vaccinated for the flu, with the live vaccine are still at risk of getting the flu.
    The vaccine is not a fail safe, and everyone I know who has got the vaccine, has landed themselves the flu.

    As for seat belts. More people die in car accidents that could have survived if they used a seat belt than children get schizophrenia from their mothers getting the flu while pregnant, that’s for sure.

    Evidence shows seat belts save lives. Flu shot, not so much.

  4. Hollie says:

    I got the H1N1 shot last year because I work in a school and my husband works in an ER. (Aside: I’m a big weenie and hate getting blood drawn at OB appts – it didn’t hurt THAT bad). I’ll get another this year because of those risk factors and I am now pregnant. It’s worth my peace of mind.

  5. Jennifer says:

    What about Vitamin D3? It is more effective at preventing flu than the vaccine and many Americans are deficient in it. Get a good D3 supplement and maybe skip the vaccine… here is an article about D3 and it’s power to fight viruses!

  6. Dayspring Conley says:

    Unfortunately, I did opt for the flu shot when I was pregnant with my 2nd boy. This is the worst regret of my life. He is now 4 1/2, and I have come to realize that his developmental problems were a direct result of the mercury that was in the flu shot. His speech was delayed by over a year, he has some fine and gross motor issues, and some social problems as well. It was a challenge to teach him to talk, and even now that he can, it is tough to have a reciprocal conversation with him. He is doing better every year, but it is a struggle.
    My first and third boys do not have any developmental delays, and I did not get the flu shot when pregnant with them. I also know other moms that got the flu shot, and their children also have similar delays, and the main thread seems to be speech delay, although there are other effects that are common, such as sensory problems. I will never get the flu shot again. I would rather take my chances with the flu than purposely cause my child to be born with a developmental problem.
    Please remember that the flu shot has never been tested for long term effects on the child when it is administered during gestation. The studies the medical community touts as showing the shot is safe in pregnancy follows the babies for only a few days or weeks.
    Mercury is a proven neurotoxin, and it is in every flu shot for pregnant women at this time. The one I received had 25 mcg, and the reduced mercury version has only 5 mcg, but please remember that pregnant women are not supposed to consume more than 0.05 mcg of mercury, such as from canned tuna, and not more than once a week. Shark, tilefish, and swordfish contains only about 0.5-0.9 mcg per serving, and pregnant women are advised to stay clear of it! That is because mercury consumption (through contaminated fish) is known to cause major developmental problems, such as cerebral palsy, complete lack of speech in severe cases, and other developmental problems. Look up “congenital Minamata disease” if you want to research it further.

  7. afw says:

    @DAYSPRING CONLEY: the mercury contained in the flu shot IS NOT THE SAME KIND OF MERCURY AS WHAT’S IN FISH. it doesn’t act the same in your body. The kind in fish bioaccumulates – meaning, it collects in your body tissues. The kind that preserves vaccines doesn’t. You have convinced yourself that the insanely tiny amount of mercury in that one shot damaged your boy. It’s FAR more likely it was genetic damage that was there from the start.

  8. Adelia's Mom says:

    I’m 24 weeks, and I’m not getting the flu shot simply because I try to avoid chemicals in my foods and try to be as healthy as possible during pregnancy, which would include not putting live or dead viruses in my body by choice (if I came down with the flu, that would be another matter). My own OB said his office doesn’t carry thimerosal-free flu shots, and you have to search pretty hard to find an office that does.

    That being said, I encourage everyone to avoid drawing conclusions that might have no relation to mercury or to vac’s in general. While my heart goes out to the poster DAYSPRING, I don’t think it’s a good idea to say “several of my friends had this result after the flu shot, so it MUST be the cause.” It might’ve been from the shot, but then again, it might’ve been totally unrelated. When I was pregnant with #2, I had horrible morning sickness, and I was prescribed Zofran. I debated about taking it, so afraid of birth defects, and I came across ONE website that had 5 women claim this drug caused a fetal heart defect (with hundreds of websites showing thousands of women who had HEALTHY babies after taking the drug). That one website scared me so much that I decided not to take it (I took no drugs or OTC’s and ate healthy). Suddenly, at 15 weeks, I found out my baby had a fatal heart defect, and I lost her – tests showed severe Turner Syndrome. Had I taken the Zofran, I would’ve run back to that one website and posted my conclusion with 100% certainty that Zofran CAUSED the defect, when in reality, it was simply a very sick baby with random Turner Syndrome. That taught me to avoid drawing my own conclusions about cause-and-effect.

    But as with most things, we should trust our gut (not just our docs)…I’m avoiding any vac’s during pregnancy, simply because the pros seem to outweight the cons.

    I wish all of us the best, healthiest, FLU-FREE pregnancies!

  9. Steffanie says:

    Hi, I actually just got the flu shot today and I am 26 weeks pregnant. I never got the flu shot and never planned too but today I made the mistake of getting it. I got the shot because my doctor said all pregnant women should get it and now I REGRET it. After I got home I did some research And am scared because of all the comments I read with mercury and the development of the baby. Is this really true?

  10. K says:

    I am 16 weeks pregnant (first pregnancy) and I went to my OB yesterday for a checkup. During the visit he scared me about the Flu and insisted that I get the Flu shot “All Pregnant Women Should Get the Flu Shot, We Have a pregnant women in intensive Care right now with the flu”. Can you believe how I felt not even thinking about getting the shot from the beginning? I never take any medications for anything, not even Tylenol for a headache. So after this visit my head was spinning. I had to weigh the pros and cons of this. I called all my pregnant friends and others that where pregnant in the last three years. All have opted NOT to have the flu shot. This helped calm me a little. So doing some research and talking to others I have made my decision of sticking with my original choice of NOT getting the flu shot. There are many chemicals in the shot that you are giving to your growing baby, which can cause many birth defects and health problems. The odds of you getting the right shot with the right flu that season are slim to none, so the flu shot is not even protecting you for the virus that is going around that year. If there is a bad batch of the shot they don’t recall it till it’s too late and have given it out already.
    I spoke to my sister who had her last child nine years ago and she said for all three pregnancy’s they didn’t even offer her the flu shot and told me not get it. Imagine that, this is new that they are pushing the shot on pregnant women and all those years of women Not getting the shot. How did they all survive? (Sarcasm) There is not enough long term tests done on flu shots and pregnancy’s and I for one am not going to risk effecting my child with the chemicals. Just be smart this winter season, be very cautious. My husband or anyone that enters my home must wash hands as soon as entering the door, as do I. I bring Clean well (all natural hand sanitizer) with me everywhere. I avoid all who are sick and so does my husband. Eat well, avoid sugar (hard to say when your preggers but it lowers your immune system) get plenty of rest, work out 30 mins a day, take your vitamins and pray. Probiotics, Vit C and Vit D help boost your immunity. Do some research on Natural ways to boost your immunity. The odds of you getting the flu with the right vaccine is slim to non and once you get the shot there is no turning back. Do you really want to give your baby chemicals? NOT ME!

    This is a probiotics my sister in law recommended that I am ordering today.

    A good start to boosting your immune system site:

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