With the flu season approaching, many pregnant women are wondering if it’s safe for them to get a flu shot. According to a new study, Columbus gynecologist Dr. Otto Umana advises that these women are at no greater risk for high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, urinary tract infection or other conditions.
The study – that included several thousand pregnant women – has shown no evidence of any harm to the pregnant women, her child or to the babies of women who had been vaccinated.
But not all pregnant women are convinced. During a recent flu season, only about half of the pregnant women surveyed reported having had a flu vaccine. Even though Columbus gynecologists recommend that pregnant women get the shot, many of these women still feel that there may be damage to themselves or their fetus.
The study reviewed data on over 70,000 women who had opted to get a flu shot while they were pregnant and compared them to over 300,000 women with similar characteristics about themselves and their pregnancies.
What they found is that the women who received the flu vaccine had more health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes before they got pregnant and that they were more likely to have to be hospitalized both before and after receiving the shot.
But in the 42-day period following the vaccination, women who got the shot were no more likely than women who didn’t to suffer complications. When they were followed through delivery, vaccinated women were still no more likely to experience pregnancy difficulties.
For a pregnant woman, contracting the flu can be really dangerous, putting them at a greater risk of death, respiratory disease requiring hospitalization and premature labor and delivery.
The risk-benefit ratio was already clear, but collecting new safety data is always good. Flu shots protect pregnant women, their unborn babies, and even protect the baby after birth.
Babies don’t receive vaccines until six months of age, so they are vulnerable to catching the flu in the first six months of life, but previous studies have found that some of the protection passes across the placenta to the baby and can help shield them from flu after birth.