Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

H1N1 Flu Shot Appears Safe During Pregnancy

But Shot May Slightly Increase Risk for Guillian-Barre Syndrome in People 6 Months or Older

H1N1 Shot Not Linked to Major Birth Defects, Preterm Birth continued...

The H1N1 vaccine in the new studies contained an adjuvant, or added chemical, to increase the body's immune response to the vaccine. Adjuvants were not given in the U.S. Neither the U.S. pandemic H1N1 vaccine nor the U.S. seasonal flu vaccines contain adjuvants.

But that doesn't mean the findings are irrelevant, says Mark C. Steinhoff, MD. He is the director of the Children's Global Health Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Steinhoff co-wrote an editorial accompanying the two new studies.

"In the event of a future pandemic, we will know that this adjuvant is safe," he says.

Pregnant Women Should Get Flu Shot

The most important message is that pregnant women need to get the flu shot to protect their own health and that of their infant. Pregnancy can affect the immune system.

"The probability of getting hospitalized with the flu when you are 20-something and pregnant is seven times higher than when you are 20-something and not pregnant," Steinhoff says. "Your baby pays the price, too."

Infants may be protected by their moms' antibodies against the flu for the first six months of life, a period of time when they are susceptible to the flu and severe complications.

"The vaccine is a three-for-one -- it protects the mother, the fetus, and the infant," Steinhoff says.

Jill Rabin, MD, always reminds pregnant women to get their yearly flu shots. She is the chief of ambulatory care, obstetrics, and gynecology, and head of urogynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

"Getting the flu during pregnancy is much more dangerous to the mother and baby than the vaccine," she says. "Pregnant women should be the first in line, as the benefits outweigh the risks, and the risks can be fatal."

The two studies appear in the July 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

1 | 2

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
healthtool pregnancy calendar
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy