Have you seen this one yet?
Headlines about how the flu vaccine may be linked with miscarriage are circulating around the Internet right now, but before you decide to pass up this round of shots in an attempt to protect your unborn baby, here’s what you need to know about this study.
It’s still recommended that you get the flu vaccine
The CDC, American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as the doctors and researchers that participated in the study still recommend all pregnant women get the flu vaccine.
This is one study that is exploring a POSSIBLE link between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 flu vaccine, specifically in women who received vaccines in those two consecutive years.
On the other hand, a multitude of other studies have been completed that support the safety of the flu vaccine in pregnant women, including one done by the same group of doctors who previously found NO link, a decade earlier.
The vaccine composition during the 2010-2012 years was unique
Because of the outbreak of H1N1 that killed 12,000 people in the US, a new strain of flu, H1N1pdm019, was added to the vaccine. Unlike other years, where the composition changes with each season, this vaccine remained unchanged. While this is possibly unrelated, it is one factor that can’t be overlooked when trying to determine if there is a link between flu vaccine and miscarriage.
One may not be related to the other
These findings are based off an observational study, which means a definitive causal relationship cannot be established. Observational studies can’t prove one thing, like the flu shot, unequivocally lead to another, like a miscarriage. They can only suggest a causal relationship may be present. For this study, the medical records of women who miscarried were examined, after the fact. This means there could have been other, completely unrelated factors that contributed to the results.
A follow-up study is being performed and flu is no joke
Results are expected in 2018 or early 2019, but in the meantime, it is recommended pregnant women get the flu vaccine at the start of flu season, regardless of what trimester they are in.
While the results of this study do raise some questions, it is proven that contracting the flu while pregnant is not only dangerous to mom, but can create serious problems for baby, like birth defects, premature labor, and delivery. You are also more susceptible to the flu while pregnant, making it even more important to be vigilant about protecting yourself.
While we all just want to make the best decision for our bodies and babies, decisions about medical care should come from your caretaker, and not from click bait headlines that don’t tell the full story.
(For more information, this article was especially helpful.)