The flu vaccine has been found to be both safe and effective for use by pregnant women. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends the flu vaccine for all pregnant women. Now it seems there may be even more of a reason to vaccinate pregnant women against the flu. A recent study has found that giving the flu vaccine to pregnant women may bring significant benefits to their babies even before birth.
A report published in the June issue of The American Journal of Public Health noted that during the H1N1 epidemic, pregnant women who had the flu were more likely than other flu patients to require hospitalization. In this study, Canadian researchers studied the records of 55,570 mothers of singletons, of whom 23,340 were given the flu vaccination during pregnancy from November 2009 through April 2010. Compared with unvaccinated mothers, women who received the flu vaccine during the 2009-2010 pandemic had fewer pre-term births and stillbirths, and fewer undersized infants.
Once the numbers were adjusted to take into account maternal age, smoking, hypertension and other factors, vaccinated mothers had a 27% decreased risk of delivering a baby before 32 weeks gestation and a 34% decreased risk of stillbirth. Further research is needed on this topic.
In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, there are other things you can do to give your unborn child the best chance for a healthy birth. Receiving regular prenatal care is vitally important to the health of your unborn child. Eating well, maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough rest are also very important. For more information on maintaining a healthy pregnancy, contact a qualified Obstetrician in your local area.