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Pregnant women refusing flu shots not a good idea in 2010

Jenny Decker RN's picture

Women who are expecting babies have long been told that medications can be harmful to their unborn children, at least most medications. However, when it comes to the flu shot, even though they are encouraged to get it each year, only about 15% of pregnant women actually get the flu shot. However, pregnant women refusing flu shots may find that in 2010, it is not a good idea, writes the New York Times.

The Centers for Disease Control have placed pregnant woman at the very top of the priority list for shots against h1n1. The swine flu seems to target pregnant women who are otherwise healthy, with deadly effects. Those who encourage pregnant women to stay away from the flu shot may be making a devastating mistake on the part of the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

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Pregnant women are four times more likely to be hospitalized due to the swine flu. Pneumonia and other complications are especially dangerous outcomes of the swine flu. The CDC recommends that pregnant women get treatment as soon as possible after exposure to swine flu or as soon as symptoms show up. A study done by The Lancet has shown that not one of the 6 women who died of swine flu in the last few months got treatment fast enough. Treatment of swine flu should be within 48 hours of exposure.

Pregnant women and the swine flu are not a good mix, Unfortunately, because of the past experiences with drugs like thalidomide have frightened both doctors and women away from those drugs that have fewer problems associated with them then the serious illness they were meant to treat. The CDC is finding that getting the word out to both doctors and women about a flu shot for h1n1 is quite an obstacle. First, OB’s do not traditionally give immunizations in their offices, and second, the issue with being told not to take anything sticks with women.

The CDC aims to educate both women and their doctors about how important it is to get the flu shot this year. The flu shot aims to protect women and their fetuses from untoward, even deadly outcomes from the swine flu. Research will tell in time whether antivirals and such will be sufficient to treat or how the flu shot will benefit the mothers and babies.