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Arizona health official recommends flu shots for pregnant women

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.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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