Does the flu vaccine produce a better pregnancy outcome?
The flu vaccine is recommended every winter when flu cases rise dramatically. The flu is associated with fever, nausea, and vomiting. Recent studies have linked fever with increased risk of autism, so preventing flu infection is extremely important during pregnancy.
Recently, a large study revealed a few benefits researchers did not expect. According to the study, pregnant women who took the H1N1 vaccine were less likely to give birth to a stillborn infant, small for gestational age infant or premature infant. The study included more than 55,000 infant health records collected during a flu pandemic in Ontario, Canada. The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Public Health.
When researchers studied health records they found that infants born to mothers who took the H1N1 flu vaccine were less likely to suffer a stillborn child in 35 percent of cases. Premature delivery and small for gestational age cases were reduced by 28 percent and 19 percent, respectively. There were no adverse side effects associated with the vaccination during the perinatal period (time immediately after birth).
Is the vaccine safe during pregnancy?
Pregnant women tend to be extremely protective of the foods and medications they consume and use during pregnancy, and are naturally concerned about the safety of the flu vaccine. Recent and ongoing studies show the benefits of taking the flu vaccination far outweigh any potential side effects. On the flipside, some of the potential risks of not taking the vaccination include possible increased risk of autism if the pregnant woman suffers from fever, and an increased risk of death from the flu infection.
BORN, Better Outcomes Registry and Network, collects information from pregnancy health records in Canada. The information collected spans wider than just the H1N1 vaccine. BORN is on-going and the impact of the information collected is enormous as researchers can pick apart information for a variety of studies. Information is collected on lifestyle habits and choices, like smoking, drinking, and education. Though there are some controls, the scope and size of the study mean there are some factors that may influence the outcome, which is not taken into consideration.
Why You Need The Flu Vaccine
Coronavirus and Pregnancy
Treating the Cold and Flu During Pregnancy
Infections During Pregnancy
Source: BORN. Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. May 24, 2012.