Pregnant Moms: Get Flu Vaccine to Keep Babies From Getting Sick, Researchers Say

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Babies, Pregnancy Health

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Don't want to take any chances when it comes to keeping your newborn from catching the flu? Get the influenza vaccine while you're still pregnant.

Researchers have found babies born to to moms who got the shot while preggers have almost a 50 percent smaller chance of being hospitalized for the flu than those whose mom's didn't get the vaccine, according to a news release.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends the influenza vaccination for kids older than 6 months, but pregnant women should get it, too, the release states.

"It is recommended that all pregnant women receive the influenza vaccine during pregnancy because it is known that pregnant women have increased morbidity and mortality during pregnancy and in the immediate postpartum period if they get the flu," Dr. Katherine A. Poehling, an associate professor of pediatrics and lead author on the study, says in the release. "We also know that mothers pass antibodies through the placenta to the baby. This study showed us that receiving the influenza vaccine during pregnancy not only protects the mother, but also protects the baby in the early months of life."

Infants younger than 6 months have the highest rates of flu hospitalization among all children, Poehling says in the release, but the influenza vaccine isn't effective in babies that young.

"Similar findings have been published from other studies, but they've been published in general journals or journals about pediatrics and infectious diseases," Poehling says of the study, published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. "Where the information is published really does make a difference because pediatricians need to know about it, but it's even more important that the doctors taking care of pregnant women -- obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) -- know it, too. Pediatricians have been vaccinating children for a long time, but vaccine recommendations for OB/GYNs have changed over the last decade, so everyone is having to learn new recommendations and adjust. This is a relatively new activity for OB/GYNs."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.