A study out of Duke University showed that of 1,600 women who delivered during the 2009-2010 flu season, those that had received a dose of flu vaccine delivered more term babies and also delivered babies who had higher birth weights. Women who received at least one flu vaccine during the season were also less likely to require a doctor's visit for flu prior to delivery and they had lower hospitalization rates.
Another study out of Wake Forest University which was recently published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology looked at women who had received flu vaccine during their pregnancy. This study showed that infants born to mothers who received flu vaccine while pregnant were 50% less likely to be hospitalized with flu than infants born to mothers who had not received flu vaccine. This was a study conducted over the years 2002-2009 (before H1N1) Impressive!
Flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Infants 6 months of age and younger have the highest rate of hospitalization for flu related illness among all children. The only reason that flu vaccine it is not given to younger infants is that the vaccine is not effective. How do we protect those babies, by protecting the mothers who are carrying the child?
So...bottom line, pregnant women who get their flu vaccines not only protect themselves, they are protecting their newborn infants as well. A mother's job of protecting her children is life long, but it begins even with a baby in utero. Go get that vaccine, as flu season is upon us!
That's your daily dose for today. I'm Dr. Sue Hubbard from The Kid's Doctor.