Flu Shots During Pregnancy Can Save Your Baby's Life

This Just In 14

flu shotYou've probably read a million articles and opinions on flu shots during pregnancy. I know I have, and back when I was pregnant during flu season I hemmed and hawed and worried and fretted before ultimately choosing to get vaccinated. It's probably never going to be a topic that's 100% controversy free, but here's the very latest based on what may be the largest study of its kind: if you're pregnant, it's safe to get a flu shot.

Not only that, getting vaccinated may prevent a terrible outcome. This new research shows that getting the flu while pregnant increases the risk of fetal death, and since we're currently in the midst of a widespread and intense flu epidemic, the time to get your shot -- if you haven't already -- is now.

The study was led by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and was just released by the New England Journal of Medicine. Experts say this may be the largest look at the safety and value of flu vaccination during pregnancy, since it focused on more than 113,000 pregnancies.

Researchers found no evidence that the vaccine increases the risk of losing a fetus, but they believe the risk of fetal death was nearly twice as high for women who weren't vaccinated as it was in vaccinated mothers.

There will likely always be concerns for some mothers about the effects of vaccinations during pregnancy, but the CDC says this study in particular should ease any worries about the flu shot. While flu vaccinations for pregnant women have grown from less than 15 percent to around 50 percent, experts say those rates need to be higher. A flu shot during pregnancy can even help keep a newborn healthy -- while infants can't be vaccinated until 6 months, studies have shown they pick up some protection if their mothers got the annual shot.

Doctors and obstetricians are reminding everyone that it's not too late to get the shot. (I got mine last week at Walgreen's -- it took about five minutes, and they even have an online scheduling option.) It's obviously a personal decision, but for pregnant women who have been on the fence about getting vaccinated, this study seems like it might be the reassurance -- and motivation -- that's needed.

What's your take on flu shots during pregnancy? Does this study affect how you feel about the topic at all?

Image via Europe District/Flickr

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nonmember avatar Me

I got the flu shot when pregnant with my middle child, due in jan. Two weeks after his birth the rest of us had the flu, he stayed healthy. I dont know if the shot had anything to do with it, but it didnt hurt him. I still got sick as a dog though lol

miss.... miss.sarah

Oh fasten your seat belts and bring on the greener than green sanctimommies. This is like chum to a shark.

ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

Sometimes I swear you people post these articles just to watch moms fight over them.

miche... micheledo

So, fetal deaths may be less if you get the flu shot. Yet there are studies that say after birth, a baby whose mother received the flu shot, is more likely to be hospitalized with the flu, then one whose mother did not get it. My only advice - research it for yourself and then do what you think is best for you and your chilD!

ashes... ashes2ashes831

Pahaha I cannot wait for more people to comment :D

randh... randhferedinos

Or, getting a flu shot while pregnant can exacerbate a previously unknown egg allergy, making the recipient progress from no visible reaction to eggs, to heart arrhythmia, labored breathing, intense abdominal pain, and a few other beautiful side effects. Thanks flu shot!

nonmember avatar Sad

Mmmm, a big dose of mercury right into a developing fetus! Can't see that blowing up in your faces.

miss.... miss.sarah

Mercury free shots are pretty common and widely available especially to pregnant women and children. The majority of single dose flu vaccinations are actually mercury free.

LoveM... LoveMyKBabies

All I'm going to say about this is, I had my one & only miscarriage after getting my one & only vaccine during pregnancy. It was a flu shot & I got it to protect my baby. According to the sono I was given, the baby died around the time I got the shot. With my subsequent pregnancy I refused the shot, I had a healthy baby. My 3 oldest were healthy too. The ONLY difference between my 4 healthy pregnancies & 1 failed pregnancy was that shot.

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