Pregnancy & the Flu: Why Expectant Moms Should Get Vaccinated
A recent study, paid for by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), appears to link one type of the flu vaccine with miscarriages. But the study, by the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin, did not find anything definitive with 17 women having miscarriages that might be linked with vaccination.
The study appeared to raise more questions than it answered.
Dr. Michael Leonardi, a high risk obstetrician and director of obstetrics at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical in Peoria, Illinois, says many women don't get diagnosed with a miscarriage until potentially weeks after the baby has stopped developing, so it's entirely plausible some of them had already miscarried and didn't know it before they got the flu vaccine.
It's absolutely critical that people get flu shots in pregnancy. The mother who is vaccinated against the flu during pregnancy protects herself which protects her unborn child.
The one thing Dr. Leonardi stresses: the study is not a cause for alarm and should not discourage women from getting flu shots while they're pregnant.
Additionally, Dr. Leonardi says moms take care of babies from conception all the way through, so getting a flu shot while pregnant can actually protect the baby after birth.
If a woman is still nervous about getting the flu vaccine, Dr. Leonardi suggests a couple of things. If you are planning a pregnancy and want to have the most reassurance, get your flu vaccine before you get pregnant. If you are already pregnant, schedule a visit with your obstetrician so you hear the baby's heartbeat and know things are okay before you get your flu vaccine rather than after. While it may not change the outcome if a miscarriage were to happen, it adds a layer of reassurance.