For years there has been a general misconception among pregnant women in relation to getting a flu vaccine during gestation. A new study suggests that getting the flu or being treated for it during pregnancy does not increase the infant’s risk for autism.
A team of researchers has analyzed data gathered from approximately 200,000 individuals born between 2000 and 2010 in the California healthcare system. The information was collected in the second trimester of gestation.
The follow-up procedures revealed that 1.6 percent of the children have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder before turning 15 years old. However, less than 1 percent of the mothers had the flu while pregnant and an additional 23 percent subjected themselves to getting a flu vaccine.
By looking at the results, the scientists were able to conclude that neither vaccination nor contracting the flu during gestation were directly linked to infants suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder. In light of the recent discovery, Lisa Croen, the senior author of the study recommends that no changes should be made to the healthcare system. If something, the scientists encourage the pregnant women to get a flu vaccine during gestation.
Prior to the recent findings, there have been other studies conducted that investigated the possibility of children being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder after the mothers contracted the flu during pregnancy. However, Lisa Croen says that the results were unclear. The team also points out that there were no specific studies made that were looking directly at the connection between gestation and receiving a flu vaccine.
Furthermore, another study also published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics supports that no connection could be found between pregnancy complications and H1N1 vaccines. The scientists examined roughly 60,000 Danish children whose mothers have previously received a flu vaccine for Influenza A, more commonly known as swine flu.
Ultimately, both studies promote the flu vaccine and support the claim that mothers should receive influenza treatment during pregnancy. Moreover, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that anyone older than six months should receive a flu vaccine, including the pregnant mothers. If left untreated, the complications from the harmful virus could lead to premature labor and consequently before the term delivery or a wide range of other birth defects in infants.
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