“A pregnant woman should have a flu shot to protect herself against this viral illness that can increase her risk of hospitalization and even death,” said Jonathan Russell, M.D., board certified OB/Gyn on the medical staff at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. “She can have the flu shot – not the nasal spray – in October through May at any time during her pregnancy because this provides protective effects after birth until the baby can get a flu shot at six months of age. However, women who are allergic to eggs or have had a reaction to a vaccine in the past should talk with their doctor about getting a flu shot.”
Vaccination for the flu and pertussis are recommended not only for pregnant women, but also for all caregivers who come in contact with a newborn. Both vaccines should be administered during each pregnancy because strains of the flu change from year to year and benefits of the pertussis vaccine gradually decrease over time.
“The pertussis vaccine is recommended for pregnant women because there have been a rising number of pertussis cases in infants due to waning immunity in adults,” said Michelle Barcio, M.D., board certified OB/Gyn on the medical staff at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. “There is no season for pertussis, so this vaccine is available year-round for pregnant women. Because immunity is highest about two weeks after vaccination, women should have one dose of the Tdap vaccine in the 27th to 36th week of pregnancy to provide the greatest benefit to the baby after birth. A woman also can be vaccinated immediately after giving birth because antibodies can be transferred in breast milk.”
Dr. Barcio and Dr. Russell are with Methodist Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates, which is located at 10130 Louetta Road, Suite G, and care for patients at the Birthing Center at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. The Birthing Center is home to a full-service childbirth facility where approximately 3,300 babies are born each year. Antepartum, labor, delivery, private birthing suites and mother baby suites, well-baby nursery, and neonatal intensive care services are available at the Birthing Center at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. For more information about Dr. Barcio and Dr. Russell, or to make an appointment, call 832.698.5500 or visit houstonmethodist.org/obgyn.
About Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital, is a not-for-profit, faith-based hospital, which is part of Houston Methodist. The facility opened on December 18, 2000. The campus has expanded in Northwest Houston to serve the comprehensive health care needs of the community.
Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has been named a Magnet recognized health care facility by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®.
Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has received its chest pain and stroke accreditations, performs complex surgeries such as neurosurgery and open heart, and focuses on women and children in its new Women’s & Children’s Pavilion. Utilizing the latest research and state-of-the-art technology, Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine has become the leader in orthopedic care in Northwest Houston. For more information on the comprehensive services available on the Houston Methodist Willowbrook campus, please visit houstonmethodist.org/willowbrook.
To find a physician, call 281-737-2500.
Sucre E. Woodley