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PHOENIX -- With the heart of the flu season coming up, a state health official said it's critical for pregnant women and new mothers to get a flu shot.

Dr. Karen Lewis with the Arizona Department of Health Services said flu shots do not pose a threat to pregnancies.

"If they get their flu shot during pregnancy they will pass on the antibody protection to infants," she said.

The Centers for Disease Control said flu is five times more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant.

"Because the immune system has changed because of the pregnancy and their lung volume is not as large because the baby is pushing up against their lungs," Lewis said.

The flu also increases the risk of premature labor and delivery.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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