Happy Fall Everyone! All week I have been very excited for this new season to start. I love the colors, the slight chill and the magic of fall. Of course autumn is not the only new season that is upon us, we are also approaching cold and flu season, and wouldn't ya know it on the first day of fall I woke up with my first cold of the season.
Normally my sticky, scratchy throat and heavy headache wouldn't be too big of a deal and I would go on with my day normally, if maybe dragging a bit. But now that Snow Pea is on board and forced to endure these things with me I have opted to stay in my jammies in the hopes that I can fight this off before it becomes full blown. I feel kind of lazy but I know it's the right decision. The decision I am unsure about though is how to deal with the remainder of flu season.
It is very common for OBs to prescribe flu shots to women that are pregnant anytime during flu season, between October and April. The CDC recommends that all pregnant women be vaccinated by October to protect their already weakened immune systems. But of course like all other things, there is another side of the coin. Many independent scientists, doctors, moms and researchers claim that flu shots are unnecessary and even dangerous for the pregnant woman and her fetus. Some have implicated thimerosal, a type of mercury and common ingredient in the vaccine, as being linked to autism along with other health problems in children.
A conversation on Twitter yesterday about whether we all need or should get flu shots got me thinking about this debate. Since I am not due until April, I will be pregnant during the height of flu season. I would love to claim that I have a killer immune system and am unconcerned about getting sick, but the reality is I get sick all the time (as today's cold proves). I get some sort of cold or flu every season and I can't imagine this year would be any different, especially with an even weaker immune system.
But still I can't decide if I really want to get the flu vaccine. I have never gotten one in the past and even though I do get a cold every season, I also recover from it fairly easily. And I don't know why but it does kind of make me nervous. Yes, I know the claims of flu shots being related to other health problems are not widely corroborated or researched and honestly those claims aren't the big reason I am uncertain about the shot. I generally just don't know if it's something I want to do or not. I think it is an uneasiness with the unknown more than anything, especially since I have never had one before.
So as always I turn to the opinions and experiences of others for insight. Have you ever had a flu shot? Either while pregnant or not? Did it keep you from getting sick? Did it make you feel lousy afterward? And anyone that decided to skip it, did you manage to stay healthy anyway? Any thoughts or experiences are appreciated. Of course, I have every intention of speaking with my doctor about this and asking questions and hearing his advice before making any decisions. I just can't help but look at each step during this pregnancy and want to evaluate all the information from every side before making a decision. Part of it is just who I am, and part of it stems from the years of infertility and treatments. I spent so much time learning so much about the process of getting to this point and being so involved in each step of that process, that now it's the norm and I feel uneasy if I don't learn as much as I can with each new step. Ultimately, I want to do what's best for Snow Pea every step of the way and the more I know, the more confident I can be that I am doing just that.