Vaccinating an expectant mom also vaccinates the baby–for the first six months of its life outside the womb–according to a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Influenza causes more serious consequences in pregnant women and newborns than in the general public. It can also lead to birth defects. So what were the bottom-line findings of the study?
This is important because, as the NEJM study states:
Infection with influenza virus is associated with serious illnessand hospitalization among pregnant women and young infants,including neonates.Maternal influenza infection has beenassociated with an increased risk of maternal hospitalization,fetal malformation, and other illnesses.Influenza infectionin young infants often prompts hospitalization and can predisposethe infants to bacterial pneumonia or otitis media.Studiesfrom North Americaand Hong Kong have shown high rates ofhospitalization among infants with influenza, especially thoseunder 6 months of age.The rate of hospitalization for suchinfants is higher than that for other high-risk groups. A nationalsurvey in the United States showed that childhood deaths associatedwith influenza are most frequent in infants under the age of6 months.
The CDC recommends that all pregnant women get the “inactivated” flu vaccine. That’s the shot. The nasal spray is “live attenuated” and should not be given.
If you are pregnant, write down to ask your health-care provider about getting the flu shot at your next appointment. It’s important.
Does anyone have reservations about getting the flu shot? Has anyone had experience with the flu when pregnant, or in your newborn?