Why aren't pregnant women getting flu vaccine?

Both mother and fetus are at increased risk for complications of flu infection during pregnancy. And prenatal care providers say they're advising women to get the flu vaccine, in line with recommendations from various organizations. But many pregnant women don't understand the importance of this advice—and don't get the vaccine.

Robert Arao, MPH, a biostatistician at Group Health Research Institute, did a statewide survey—the first of its kind—to assess what doctors think and do about flu vaccines for . Mr. Arao was at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and the Oregon Health Authority's (OHA) Public Health Division when he did this work. He e-published "Influenza vaccination of pregnant women: attitudes and behaviors of Oregon physician providers" with Kenneth D. Rosenberg, MD, MPH and Katrina Hedberg, MD, MPH, of OHA's Public Health Division, and Shannon McWeeney, PhD, of OHSU, in the Maternal and Child Health journal.

They found that most doctors who provide prenatal care in Oregon understood the importance of flu vaccination during pregnancy and communicated it to their patients. The research team mailed a survey to a random sample of more than 1,000 obstetricians and family physicians in Oregon. Of the survey respondents who had provided prenatal care in the last year, nearly nine in 10 said they routinely recommended flu vaccine to their healthy pregnant patients. Doctors who were younger, saw more pregnant patients, or both were even more likely to do so.

"Women understand the importance of not putting potential toxins, like alcohol and tobacco, into their body during pregnancy," Mr. Arao said, "But women need to understand that getting a flu vaccination during pregnancy protects both the mother and the baby."

Nationwide, only half of American women get while pregnant, and three quarters of pregnant women who receive a recommendation from a clinician actually get the vaccine. And in the Pacific Northwest, rates for many vaccinations tend to be lower than those for the nation as a whole.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Medical groups urge flu shots for pregnant women

Sep 15, 2010

(AP) -- Flu season may not sound as scary for pregnant women this year as last - but they're still at high risk and need that shot, says a letter being mailed to thousands of health providers this week from some leading ...

Text messaging boosts flu vaccine rates in pregnant women

Jan 11, 2014

A study by researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health evaluated the impact of text messaging reminders for influenza vaccine in a low-income obstetric population. The findings showed that sending text messages to ...

Large study confirms H1N1 flu shots safe for pregnant women

Jan 16, 2013

Norwegian pregnant women who received a vaccine against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus showed no increased risk of pregnancy loss, while pregnant women who experienced influenza during pregnancy had an increased risk of miscarriages ...

Guidelines issued for managing listeriosis in pregnancy

Aug 08, 2014

(HealthDay)—Recommendations have been developed for pregnant women with presumptive exposure to Listeria monocytogenes. These guidelines were published as a Committee Opinion online Aug. 5 in Obstetrics & Gynecol ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

8 hours ago

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

9 hours ago

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

sandra_stehly
1 / 5 (1) Aug 19, 2014
Perhaps women aren't getting it because the manufacturer's insert clearly states it has not been tested on pregnant women? And perhaps because the insert written by the manufacturer states it actually has no evidence of reducing the instance of the flu? Perhaps because it increases the risk of miscarriage over 4000x and they want to keep their babies? Gee, I don't know why an intelligent woman who does her research would say no to that cocktail of toxins!