Possible Link Between Flu During Pregnancy & Autism Is Another Reason to Get Your Flu Shot

This Just In 30

pregnantIf you have been going back and forth over whether or not you should get a flu shot during your pregnancy, then a new Danish study may convince you to roll up your sleeve without hesitation once and for all.

A new study has found a potential link between kids whose moms had the flu while pregnant and autism. Research showed that moms who had the flu during pregnancy have a slightly higher risk of their child being diagnosed with infantile autism before the age of 3.

And as for why having the flu could possibly make your child more likely to have autism? Researchers say that when a mother's immune system is affected by the flu, it can potentially have an effect on the baby's brain development.

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Ok, so you've probably stopped reading at this point and are rushing to the phone to call your doctor and schedule your flu shot, right? Because you'd think if there was enough of a concern for researchers to conduct this study, it must be something they are pretty worried about.

Interestingly enough, the doctor in charge of the study stressed that 99 percent of moms who had the flu DO NOT have autistic children -- that's how small the possible link is -- and she doesn't think this is anything pregnant women should worry about or panic over.

Whew. That's a relief. But wait a minute -- does that mean pregnant women should get the flu shot, or not? Based on this new research, I'd say it can't hurt to go ahead and have one, regardless of how tiny the link between the flu and autism may be. If nothing else, getting the shot will give you one less thing to worry about and stress over, which is a break that every expectant mom definitely needs.

Have you had your flu shot yet?

 

Image via cscott2006/Flickr

autism, pregnancy health, illness