With so many substances, medications and foods on the market, it’s sometimes hard for women to know what’s safe to put into their bodies during pregnancy and what isn’t. In the case of the flu vaccine, many doctors and expectant mothers have taken what’s considered the safer course and avoided vaccinations during pregnancy.
However, the some recent research published by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists makes it look like that precaution may be unnecessary, at least during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The study followed more than 10,000 women over a period of five years, tracking the effects of the influenza vaccine on first trimester pregnancies. What they concluded was that a mother getting vaccinated for the flu during her first trimester is, “not associated with an increase in major malformation rates and was associated with a decrease in the overall stillbirth rate.”
Of course, the major concern with vaccinating pregnant mothers is that the fetus may not be equipped to handle the introduction of the flu virus or able to create the appropriate antibodies. This research, though, makes it look like – at least when it comes to the flu vaccine – those issues don’t present a problem.
Organizations like the Mayo clinic have been specifically recommending the flu shot to pregnant women for a while now, so this new research should simply make expecting mothers more confident in their choice.
It’s important to note, however, that decisions such as whether to get vaccines during pregnancy should be made on a case-by-case basis by the mother and her OB/GYN.
The influenza vaccine is still considered unsafe for infants younger than 6 months of age, and this particular study only addresses the results of the vaccine on first trimester pregnancies.
Flu season is right around the corner
With fall comes the beginning of flu season, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone who is older than 6 months of age get a flu shot. Because the flu mutates forms, each shot only protects you for the current flu season, so last year’s shot will not be effective on this year’s strain.